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Title: The Cathedral Builders - The Story of a Great Masonic Guild
Author: Scott, Leader, 1837-1902
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  The index entry to Giovanni Buoni da Bissone points to entries for both
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   _Frontispiece_   (_From a photograph by Alinari._)   _page 66._]




     Honorary Member of the 'Accademia delle Belle Arti,' Florence
     Author of 'The Renaissance of Art in Italy,' 'Handbook of
     Sculpture,' 'Echoes of Old Florence,' etc.

     With Eighty-three Illustrations

     153-157 FIFTH AVENUE




In most histories of Italian art we are conscious of a vast hiatus of
several centuries, between the ancient classic art of Rome--which was
in its decadence when the Western Empire ceased in the fifth century
after Christ--and that early rise of art in the twelfth century which
led to the Renaissance.

This hiatus is generally supposed to be a time when Art was utterly
dead and buried, its corpse in Byzantine dress lying embalmed in its
tomb at Ravenna. But all death is nothing but the germ of new life.
Art was not a corpse, it was only a seed, laid in Italian soil to
germinate, and it bore several plants before the great reflowering
period of the Renaissance.

The seed sown by the Classic schools formed the link between them and
the Renaissance, just as the Romance Languages of Provence and
Languedoc form the link between the dying out of the classic Latin and
the rise of modern languages.

Now where are we to look for this link?

In language we find it just between the Roman and Gallic Empires.

In Art it seems also to be on that borderland--Lombardy--where the
_Magistri Comacini_, a mediæval Guild of _Liberi Muratori_
(Freemasons), kept alive in their traditions the seed of classic art,
slowly training it through Romanesque forms up to the Gothic, and
hence to the full Renaissance. It is a significant coincidence that
this obscure link in Art, like the link-languages, is styled by many
writers Provençal or Romance style, for the Gothic influence spread in
France even before it expanded so gloriously in Germany.

I think if we study these obscure Comacine Masters we shall find that
they form a firm, perfect, and consistent link between the old and the
new, filling completely that ugly gap in the History of Art. So fully
that all the different Italian styles, whose names are legion--being
Lombard-Byzantine at Ravenna and Venice, Romanesque at Pisa and Lucca,
Lombard-Gothic at Milan, Norman-Saracen in Sicily and the south,--are
nothing more than the different developments in differing climates and
ages, of the art of one powerful guild of sculptor-builders, who
nursed the seed of Roman art on the border-land of the falling Roman
Empire, and spread the growth in far-off countries.

We shall see that all that was architecturally good in Italy during
the dark centuries between 500 and 1200 A.D. was due to the Comacine
Masters, or to their influence. To them can be traced the building of
those fine Lombard Basilicas of S. Ambrogio at Milan, Theodolinda's
church at Monza, S. Fedele at Como, San Michele at Pavia, and San
Vitale at Ravenna; as well as the florid cathedrals of Pisa, Lucca,
Milan, Arezzo, Brescia, etc. Their hand was in the grand Basilicas of
S. Agnese, S. Lorenzo, S. Clemente, and others in Rome, and in the
wondrous cloisters and aisles of Monreale and Palermo.

Through them architecture and sculpture were carried into foreign
lands, France, Spain, Germany, and England, and there developed into
new and varied styles according to the exigencies of the climate, and
the tone of the people. The flat roofs, horizontal architraves, and
low arches of the Romanesque, which suited a warm climate, gradually
changed as they went northward into the pointed arches and sharp
gables of the Gothic; the steep sloping lines being a necessity in a
land where snow and rain were frequent.

But however the architecture developed in after times, it was the
Comacine Masters who carried the classic germs and planted them in
foreign soils; it was the brethren of the _Liberi Muratori_ who, from
their head-quarters at Como, were sent by Gregory the Great to England
with Saint Augustine, to build churches for his converts; by Gregory
II. to Germany with Boniface on a similar mission; and were by
Charlemagne taken to France to build his church at Aix-la-Chapelle,
the prototype of French Gothic.

How and why such a powerful and influential guild seemed to spring
from a little island in Lake Como, and how their world-wide reputation
grew, the following scraps of history, borrowed from many an ancient
source, will, I hope, explain.

It is strange that Art historians hitherto have made so little of the
Comacine Masters. I do not think that Cattaneo mentions them at all.
Hope, although divining a universal Masonic Guild, enlarges on all
their work as Lombard; Fergusson disposes of them in a single
unimportant sentence; and Symonds is not much more diffuse; while
Marchese Ricci gives them the credit of the early Lombard work and no
more. I was led at length to a closer study of them by the two
ponderous tomes on the _Maestri Comacini_[1] by Professor Merzario,
who has got together a huge amount of material from old writers, old
deeds, and old stones. But valuable as the material is, Merzario is
bewildering in his redundancy, confusing in his arrangement, and not
sufficiently clear in his deductions, his chief aim being to show how
many famous artists came from Lombardy.

I wrote to ask Signor Merzario if I might associate his name with mine
in preparing a work for the English public, in which his research
would furnish me with so much that is valuable to the history of art,
but to my regret I found he had died since the book was written, so I
never received his permission; though his publisher was very kind in
permitting me to use the book as a chief work of reference. With
Merzario I have collated many other recognized authorities on
architecture and archæology, besides archivial documents, and old
chronicles. I have tried to make some slight chronological
arrangement, and some intelligible lists of the names of the Masters
at different eras. The researches of the great archivist Milanesi in
his _Documenti per la Storia dell' Arte Senese_, and Cesare Guasti in
his lately published collection of documents relating to the building
of the Duomo of Florence, have been of immense service in throwing a
light on the organization of the Lodges and their government. All that
Signor Merzario dimly guessed from the more fragmentary earlier
records of Parma, Modena, and Verona, shines out clear and
well-defined under the fuller light of these later records, and helps
us to read many a dark saying of the older times.

My thanks for much kind assistance in supplying me with facts or
authorities, are due to the Rev. Canonico Pietro Tonarelli of Parma
cathedral; the Rev. Vincenzo Rossi, Priore of Settignano; Commendatore
John Temple Leader of Florence; and to my brother, the Rev. William
Miles Barnes, Rector of Monkton, who has written the "English link"
for me. Acknowledgments are also due to Signor Alinari and Signor
Brogi of Florence, and to Signor Ongania of Venice, for permitting the
use of their photographs as illustrations.


[1] Professor Giuseppe Merzario.--_I Maestri Comacini. Storia
Artistica di Mille duecento anni, 600-1800._ Published in 1893 by
Giacomo Agnelli, of 2, Via S. Margherita, Milan. Two vols., large
octavo. (Price 12 frcs.)



           PROEM                                               V

     BOOK I


        I. THE GUILD OF THE COMACINE MASTERS                   3

       II. THE COMACINES UNDER THE LONGOBARDS                 31



        V. COMACINES UNDER CHARLEMAGNE                        90

       VI. IN THE TROUBLOUS TIMES                            108

     BOOK II


        I. THE NORMAN LINK                                   121

       II. THE GERMAN LINK                                   133

           BY THE REV. W. MILES BARNES                       139

       IV. THE TOWERS AND CROSSES OF IRELAND                 161



        I. TRANSITION PERIOD                                 171

       II. THE MODENA-FERRARA LINK                           192

      III. THE TUSCAN LINK. 1. PISA                          206

                            2. LUCCA AND PISTOJA             225



     BOOK IV


        I. THE SECESSION OF THE PAINTERS                     265

       II. THE SIENA AND ORVIETO LODGES                      282

      III. THE FLORENTINE LODGE                              308

       IV. THE MILAN LODGE                                   345

              1. THE COMACINES UNDER THE VISCONTI            349

              2. THE CERTOSA OF PAVIA                        372

        V. THE VENETIAN LINK                                 383

       VI. THE ROMAN LODGE                                   400

           EPILOGUE                                          423

           AUTHORITIES CONSULTED                             427

           INDEX                                             429


     Cloister of S. John Lateran, Rome                  _Frontispiece_

     Comacine Panel from the Church of San Clemente,
       Rome                                           _To face page 9_

     Frescoes in the Subterranean Church of San
       Clemente, Rome                                       "      10

     Church of Sta. Costanza, Rome                          "      12

     Door of the Church of S. Marcello at Capua             "      13

     Ancient Sculpture in Monza Cathedral                   "      38

     Comacine Capital in San Zeno, Verona                   "      44

     Basilica of S. Frediano at Lucca                       "      50

     Façade of San Michele at Pavia                         "      52

     Tracing of an old print of the Tosinghi Palace,
       a mediæval building once in Florence, with
       _Laubia_ on the front                                "      60

     Tower of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Rome                    "      64

     Byzantine Altar in the Church of S. Ambrogio,
       Milan                                                "      74

     Fresco in the Spanish Chapel, S. Maria Novella,
       Florence                                             "      78

     Door of the Church of San Michele, Pavia               "      80

     Comacine Knot on a panel at S. Ambrogio, Milan         "      82

     Sculpture from Sant' Abbondio, Como                    "      82

     Pulpit in the Church of S. Ambrogio, Milan             "      88

     Door of a Chapel in S. Prassede, Rome                  "      90

     Pluteus from S. Marco dei Precipazi, now in S.
       Giacomo, Venice.                                     "      90

     Comacine Capitals                                      "      96

     Exterior of San Piero a Grado, Pisa                    "     102

     Comacine Capital in San Zeno, Verona, emblematizing
       Man clinging to Christ (the Palm)                    "     110

     Capital in the Atrium of S. Ambrogio, Milan            "     112

     The West Door, St. Bartholomew, Smithfield             "     122

     South Side of the Choir, St. Bartholomew the
       Great, Smithfield                                    "     124

     Palazzo del Popolo and Palazzo Comunale, Todi          "     136

     Fiesole Cathedral. Interior                            "     145

     S. Clemente, Rome. Interior showing ancient screen     "     146

     Tower of S. Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna                  "     153

     Tower of S. Satyrus. Milan                             "     154

     S. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna                       "     157

     Door of the Church of S. Zeno at Verona                "     166

     Baptistery at Parma, designed by Benedetto da
       Antelamo                                             "     186

     Façade of Ferrara Cathedral                            "     198

     Church of S. Antonio, Padua                            "     200

     Tomb of Can Signorio degli Scaligeri at Verona         "     204

     Interior of Pisa Cathedral                             "     212

     Pulpit in the Church of S. Giovanni Fuorcivitas,
       Pistoja                                              "     222

     Church of S. Michele, Lucca                            "     226

     Cathedral of Lucca (San Martino)                       "     228

     Pulpit in Church of S. Bartolommeo, Pistoja            "     230

     Church of S. Andrea, Pistoja                           "     234

     Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoja            "     236

     Church of S. Maria, Ancona                             "     242

     Door of S. Giusto at Lucca                             "     244

     Pilaster of the Door of the Cathedral of Beneventum    "     246

     Baptismal Font in Church of S. Frediano, Lucca         "     248

     Pulpit in the Church of Groppoli near Pistoja          "     249

     Pulpit in Siena Cathedral                              "     250

     The Riccardi Palace, built for Lorenzo dei Medici      "     252

     Tomb of Mastino II. degli Scaligeri, at Verona         "     254

     Capital of a Column in the Ducal Palace, Venice        "     256

     Doorway of the Municipal Palace at Perugia             "     258

     Palazzo Pubblico at Perugia                            "     260

     Court of the Bargello, Florence                        "     262

     Tower of Palazzo Vecchio at Florence                   "     263

     Eighth-century Wall Decoration in Subterranean
       Church of S. Clemente, Rome                          "     266

     Frescoes of the eighth century in the Subterranean
       Church of S.  Clemente, Rome, with portraits of
       the Patron Beno di Rapizo and his Family             "     268

     Interior of Church of San Piero a Grado near Pisa,
       with Frescoes of the ninth century                   "     270

     Figures from paintings in Assisi by Magister
       Giunta of Pisa                                       "     272

     Fresco at S. Gimignano                                 "     278

     Front of Siena Cathedral                               "     296

     Door in Orvieto Cathedral                              "     300

     Monument to Cardinal de Braye                          "     314

     Palazzo Vecchio, Florence                              "     316

     Shrine in Or San Michele, Florence                     "     332

     Small Cloister of the Certosa of Pavia                 "     358

     Marble Work on the Roof of Milan Cathedral             "     364

     Capital in Milan Cathedral                             "     366

     North Door of Como Cathedral, sculptured by Tommaso
       Rodari                                               "     368

     Renaissance Front of the Church of the Certosa at
       Pavia                                                "     378

     Façade of Monza Cathedral                              "     380

     The Cathedral and Broletta at Como                     "     382

     The Ca d'Oro, Venice                                   "     388

     Ducal Palace at Venice. The side built by the
       Buoni Family                                         "     390

     Court of the Ducal Palace at Venice                    "     392

     Apse of the Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo on the
       Cœlian Hill, Rome                                   "     404

     Basilica of S. Paolo _fuori le mura_, Rome             "     406

     Pulpit in Church of S. Cesareo in Palatio, Rome.
       Mediæval Sculpture inlaid in Mosaic                  "     408

     Candelabrum in S. Paolo at Rome                        "     412






In looking back to the great church-building era, _i.e._ to the
centuries between 1100 and 1500, do not the questions arise in one's
mind, "How did all these great and noble buildings spring up
simultaneously in all countries and all climates?" and "How comes it
that in all cases they were similar to each other at similar times?"

In the twelfth century, when the Italian buildings, such as the
churches at Verona, Bergamo, Como, etc., were built with round arches,
the German Domkirchen at Bonn, Mayence, Treves, Lubeck, Freiburg,
etc.; the French churches at Aix, Tournus, Caen, Dijon, etc.; and the
English cathedrals at Canterbury, Bristol, Chichester, St.
Bartholomew's in London--in fact, all those built at the same
time--were not only round-arched, but had an almost identical style,
and that style was Lombard.

In the thirteenth century, when pointed arches mingled with the round
in Italy, the same mixture is found contemporaneously in all the other

Again in the fourteenth century, when Cologne, Strasburg, and
Magdeburg cathedrals were built in pure Gothic; then those of
Westminster, York, Salisbury, etc., arose in England; the Domes of
Milan, Assisi, and Florence in Italy; and the churches of Beauvais,
Laon, and Rouen in France. These all came, almost simultaneously, like
sister buildings with one _impronto_ on them all.

Is it likely that many single architects in different countries would
have had the same ideas at the same time? Could any single architect,
indeed, have designed every detail of even one of those marvellous
complex buildings? or have executed or modelled one-tenth of the
wealth of sculpture lavished on one of those glorious cathedrals? I
think not.

The existence of one of these churches argues a plurality of workers
under one governing influence; the existence of them all argues a huge
universal brotherhood of architects and sculptors with different
branches in each country, and the same aims, technique, knowledge and
principles permeating through all, while each conforms in detail to
local influences and national taste.

If we once realize that such a Guild must have existed, and that under
the united hands of the grand brotherhood, the great age of
church-building was endowed with monuments which have been the glory
of all ages, then much that has been obscure in Art History becomes
clear; and what was before a marvel is now shown to be a natural

There is another point also to be considered. The great age of
church-building flourished at a time when other arts and commerce were
but just beginning. Whence, out of the dark ages, sprang the skill and
knowledge to build such fine and sculpturesque edifices, when other
trades were in their infancy, and civic and communal life scarcely

It is indeed a subject of wonder how the artists of the early period
of the rise of Art were trained. Here we find men almost in the dark
ages, who were the most splendid architects, and at the same time
sculptors, painters, and even poets. How, for instance, did Giotto, a
boy taken from the sheep-folds, learn to be a painter, sculptor, and
architect of such rank that the city of Florence chose him to be the
builder of the Campanile? Did he learn it all from old Cimabue's
frescoes, and half Byzantine _tavole_? and how did he prove to the
city that he was a qualified architect? We find him written in the
archives as _Magister_ Giotto, consequently he must have passed
through the school and _laborerium_ of some guild where every branch
of the arts was taught, and have graduated in it as a master.

All these things will become more and more clear as we follow up the
traces of the Comacine Guild from the chrysalis state, in which Roman
art hybernated during the dark winter of the Middle Ages, through the
grub state of the Lombard period, to the glorious winged flights of
the full Gothic of the Renaissance.

And first as to the chrysalis, at little Como. The origin of the name
_Comacine Masters_ has caused a great deal of argument amongst Italian
writers new and old. Some think it merely a place-name referring to
the island of Comacina, in Lake Lario or Como; others take a wider
significance, and say it means not only the city of Como, but all the
province, which was once a Roman colony of great extension. Others
again, among whom is Grotius, suggest that it is not a place-name at
all, but comes from the Teutonic word _Gemachin_ or house-builders. As
the Longobards afterwards called them in Italian _Maestri Casarii_,
which means the same thing, there is perhaps something to be said for
this hypothesis.

The first to draw attention to the name _Magistri Comacini_, was the
erudite Muratori, that searcher out of ancient MSS., who unearthed
from the archives an edict, dated November 22, 643, signed by King
Rotharis, in which are included two clauses treating of the _Magistri
Comacini_ and their colleagues. The two clauses, Nos. 143 and 144, out
of the 388 inscribed in crabbed Latin, are, when anglicized, to the
following intent--

"Art. 143. Of the _Magister Comacinus_. If the Comacine Master with
his _colliganti_ (colleagues) shall have contracted to restore or
build the house of any person whatsoever, the contract for payment
being made, and it chances that some one shall die by the fall of the
said house, or any material or stones from it, the owner of the said
house shall not be cited by the _Magister Comacinus_ or his brethren
to compensate them for homicide or injury; because having for their
own gain contracted for the payment of the building, they must sustain
the risks and injuries thereof."[2]

"Art. 144. Of the engaging or hiring of _Magistri_. If any person has
engaged or hired one or more of the Comacine Masters to design a work
(_conduxerit ad operam dictandum_), or to daily assist his workmen in
building a palace or a house, and it should happen that by reason of
the house some Comacine should be killed, the owner of the house is
not considered responsible; but if a pole or a stone shall kill or
injure any extraneous person, the Master builder shall not bear the
blame, but the person who hired him shall make compensation."[3]

These laws prove that in the seventh century the _Magistri Comacini_
were a compact and powerful guild, capable of asserting their rights,
and that the guild was properly organized, having degrees of different
ranks; that the higher orders were entitled _Magistri_, and could
"design" or "undertake" a work;--_i.e._ act as architects; and that
the _colligantes_ worked under, or with, them. In fact, a powerful
organization altogether;--so powerful and so solid, that it speaks of
a very ancient foundation.

But when and how did it originate?

Was it a surviving branch of the Roman _Collegium_? a decadent group
of Byzantine artists stranded in Italy? or was it of older Eastern
origin? A clever logician could prove it to be all three.

For the Roman theory, he could base his arguments on the Latin
nomenclature of officials, and the Latin form of the churches.

For the Byzantine theory, he would have the style of certain
ornamentations, and the assertions of German writers, such as Müller,
and Stieglitz.

For the ancient Eastern theory, he might plead their Hebrew and
Oriental symbolism.

We will take the Byzantine theory first. Müller (_Archaeologie der
Kunst_, p. 224) says that: "From Constantinople as the centre of
mechanical skill, a knowledge of art radiated to distant countries,
corporations of builders of Grecian birth were permitted to exercise a
judicial government among themselves according to the laws of the
country to which they owed allegiance;" and Stieglitz, in his _History
of Architecture_, records a _tradition_ that at the time the Lombards
were in possession of Northern Italy, _i.e._ from the sixth to the
eighth century, the Byzantine builders formed themselves into guilds
and associations, and that on account of having received from the
Popes the privilege of living according to their own laws and
ordinances, they were called Freemasons.[4] Italian and Latin writers,
however, place the advent of these Greek artists at a later period;
they are supposed to have been sculptors, who, rebelling against the
strict Iconoclasm of Leo, the Isaurian--718 A.D. to 741--came over to
Italy where art was more free, and joined the _Collegia_ there.

But at this time most of the chief Longobardic churches were already
built by the Comacine Masters, and were Roman in form, mediæval in
ornamentation, and full of ancient symbolism. Herr Stieglitz must have
pre-dated his tradition. Besides this I can find no sign in Italian
buildings, or writers about them, of any lasting Byzantine influence.
Indeed pure Byzantine architecture in Italy seems sporadic and
isolated, not only in regard to site, but in regard to time. The
Ravenna mosaics, a few in Rome, a little work in Venice, is all one
can call absolutely Byzantine; and the influence never spread far. The
Comacine ornamentation indeed has qualities utterly distinct in
spirit, though in some of its forms allied to Byzantine. It is
possible that some of these Eastern exiles joined the Comacine Guild,
but there is quite enough in the communications of Como with the
Greeks, to account for their having imbibed as much as they did of
Byzantine style. Some of the Bishops who were rulers of Como before
and after Lombard times were Greeks; notably Amantius the fourth, who
was translated there from Thessalonica, and his successor, S.
Abbondio. Also through the Patriarch of Aquileja, under whose
jurisdiction they were brought later, the guild was put into contact
with the Greek sculptors then at Venice, Grado, and Ravenna.

   _To face page 9._]

We will leave the Oriental theory aside as too vague and traditional
for proof, depending as it does on a few Oriental symbols, and certain
forms of decoration, and will look nearer home--even to Rome, with
which a connection may certainly be found, and that in a form visible
to our modern eyes.

Rome is almost as full of remains of what is now styled Comacine
architecture, as it is of classic and pagan ruins, and they are nearly
as deeply buried. Go where you will, and in the vestibules or crypts
of churches, now of gaudy Renaissance style, you will find the sign
and seal of the ancient guild. Investigate any church which has a
Lombard tower--and they are many--and you will discover that the hands
which built that many-windowed tower have left their mark on the church.
In that wonderful third-century basilica, which was discovered beneath
the thirteenth-century one of S. Clemente; in the almost subterranean
basilica of _S. Agnese fuori le mura_; in the vestibule of the florid
modern SS. Apostoli; in Santa Maria in Cosmedin; and various other
buildings, are wonderful old slabs of marble with complicated Comacine
knots on them. Our illustration is from a slab in San Clemente, which
was evidently from the buried church, though used as a panel in the
parapet of the existing choir. A marvellous piece of basket-work in
marble, which, if studied, will be found composed of a single cord,
twined and intertwined. An almost identical panel is preserved in the
wall of the staircase to S. Agnese, another has just been found
reversed, and the back of it used for the thirteenth-century mosaic
decoration of the pulpit in S. Maria in Cosmedin.

Then in the later Lombard churches of S. Lorenzo in Lucina, SS.
Giovanni e Paolo, S. John Lateran, etc., one may see the crouching
Comacine lions, now mostly minus their pillars, and shoved under
square door-lintels, or built into walls, where they remain to tell of
the ancient builders whose sign and seal they were.

And here and there we get a name.

In the vestibule of the SS. Apostoli is a red marble lion, on the base
of which in Gothic letters is the name BASSALECTI. Beneath it is an
old inscription, "Opus magister Bassalecti Marmorari Romano sec,
XIII." This same Magister's name, spelt _Vassalecti_, has lately been
discovered inscribed on the capitals of some columns in the nave of S.
John Lateran.

In the under church of S. Clemente, an ancient fresco of the eighth
century takes us further back than this. Here we see a veritable Roman
_Magister_ directing his men. He stands in magisterial toga (and
surely one may descry a masonic apron beneath it!), directing his men
in the moving of a marble column, and with the naïve simplicity of the
primitive artist each man's name is written beside him. Albertel and
Cosmaris are dragging up the column with a rope, the sons of Pute, who
are possibly novices, are helping them, while Carvoncelle is lifting
it from behind with a lever. These men are all in short jerkins, but
the master, Sisinius, is standing in his toga, directing them with
outstretched hand.

Here is the Magister of a Roman _Collegium_ embalmed and preserved for
us, that we may see him and his men at work as they were in the early
centuries after Christ. We know that Masonic _Collegia_ were still
existing in Rome in the time of Constantine and Theodosius; we know
that Constantine built the basilica of S. Agnese, afterwards restored
by Pope Symmachus; also those of S. Lorenzo--at least the round-arched
part of it--enlarged by Galla Placidia in the fifth century; S. Paolo
_fuori le Mura_, and other ancient churches. We see from remains
recently brought to light, that these were originally of the exact
plan of the churches built "in the Roman manner" at Hexham and York in
England, and of the Ravenna churches, and S. Pietro in Grado at Pisa,
also nearly contemporary. We further realize that all of these were
identical in style with the finer specimens of Lombard building some
centuries later. There is only the natural decline of art which would
have taken place in the century or two of barbarian invasion, between
the two epochs, but the traditionary forms, methods, etc., are all
reproduced in the Lombard-Comacine churches. Compare the
fourth-century door of the church of S. Marcello at Capua with the
eighth-century one of S. Michele at Pavia, and you will find precisely
the same style of art. Compare the Roman capitals of the church of
Santa Costanza, built by Constantine, with the capitals in any
Comacine church up to 1200, and you will see the same mixture of Ionic
and a species of Corinthian with upstanding volutes. Some of the
Comacine buildings have these upright volutes plain instead of
foliaged. The effect is rude, but I think these plainer capitals were
not a sign of incapacity in the architects of the guild, for one sees
richly ornate ones on the same building. It was only the stock design
of the inferior masters, when funds did not allow of payment for
richer work.

   _To face page 10._]

Therefore it may be inferred: (1) That architects of the same guild
worked in Rome and in Ravenna in the early centuries after Christ; (2)
that though the architects were Roman, the decorators up to the fourth
century were chiefly Byzantine, or had imbibed that style as their
paintings show; (3) that in the time when Rome lay a heap of ruins
under the barbarians, _the Collegium_, or _a Collegium_, I know not
which, fled to independent Como; and there in after centuries they
were employed by the Longobards, and ended in again becoming a
powerful guild.

Hope, the author of an historical Essay on Architecture, had a keen
prevision of this guild, although he had no documents or archives, but
only the testimony of old stones and buildings to prove it. After
sketching the formation of the Roman _Collegia_, and the employment
of their members as Christian architects under the early Popes, he
says "that a number of these, finding their work in Rome gone in the
times of invasion, banded together to do such work in other parts of
the world." He seems to think that the nucleus of this union was
Lombardy, where the superiority of the architecture, under the Lombard
kings, was such that the term _Magistri Comacini_ became almost a
generic name for architects. He says that builders and sculptors
formed a single grand fraternity, whose scope was to find work outside
Italy. Indeed distance and obstacles were nothing to them; they
travelled to England under Augustine, to Germany with St. Boniface, to
France with Charlemagne, and again to Germany with their brother
_magister_, Albertus Magnus; they went to the east under the Eastern
Emperors, to the south under the Lombard Dukes, and in fact are found
everywhere through many centuries. The Popes, one after another, gave
them privileges. Indeed the builders may be considered an army of
artisans working in the interest of the Popes, in all places where the
missionaries who preceded them had prepared the ground for them.

   (_From a photograph by Alinari._)   _See page 11._]

Diplomas and papal bulls confirmed to the guild the privileges they
had obtained under their national sovereigns, and besides guaranteed
their safety in every Catholic country which they visited for the
scope of their association. They assumed the right to depend wholly
and solely on the Pope, which absolved them from the observance of all
local laws and statutes, royal edicts, and municipal regulations, and
released them from servitude, as well as all other obligations imposed
on the people of the country. They had not only the power of fixing
their own _honorarium_, but the exclusive right of regulating in their
own lodges everything that appertained to their own internal
government. Those diplomas and bulls prohibited any other artist,
extraneous to the guild, from establishing any kind of competition
with them.... Encouraged by such a special protection, the Romans
in great numbers entered the Masonic Guild, particularly when they
were destined to accompany the missionaries sent by the Pope to
countries hitherto unvisited by them. The Greeks also did not delay to
take part. The Exarchate of Ravenna, first detached from the Greek
Empire by the power of the Lombard princes, had by King Pepin been
given to the Popes.... The commercial relations and communications of
all kinds maintained with Constantinople by the many cities of
Northern Italy, daily attracted many Greeks to this city; finally, the
political turbulence of Constantinople, and chiefly the fanaticism of
the Iconoclasts, continued to associate Greek artists with Italy, and
many of these were received in the lodges, whose number constantly

   (_From a photograph by Alinari._)   _To face page_ 11 or 13.]

As civilization became more diffused, the inhabitants of northern
countries, French, Germans, Belgians, and English, were admitted to
form part of these guilds. Without this concession they would probably
have had to fear a perilous competition, encouraged by the sovereigns
of other countries.... These corporations were always in league with
the Church, which in those times of war and constant struggle, of
military service and feudal slavery, was the only asylum for those who
wished to cultivate the arts of peace. Therefore we see ecclesiastics
of high rank, abbots, prelates, bishops, exalting the respect in which
the Freemasons were held, by joining the guild as members. They gave
designs for their own churches, overlooked the building, and employed
their own monks in the manual labour.

Such is broadly the substance of Hope's account of the great Lombard
Guild. It shows remarkable insight, for when he wrote, the documentary
evidences which have lately been collected were wanting.[5] It also
explains precisely the close connection with monks and the Church,
which appears in all the story of the guild, and it accounts for the
Greek influence in the ornamentation.

In all the course of the history of building we see that each country
or province had to obtain its architects from this _Collegium_ at
Rome, as Villani says all the cities of Italy did, and were obliged to
apply to the Grand Master of the whole guild. Thus the early Popes had
to beg architects for Rome from the Lombard kings; Pope Adrian had to
apply to Charlemagne for builders; and so on up to the time when all
the church-building Communes had to seek architects from some existing

Giovanni Villani shows us the intimate connection of the Roman
_Collegium_ with Florence. He says that after Cæsar had destroyed
Fiesole he wished to build another city to be called Cesaria, but the
Senate would not permit this. The Senate, however, gave his Generals
Macrinus, Albinus, Cneus Pompey, and Martius equal power to build, and
between them they founded Florence, bringing the water from Monte
Morello by an aqueduct. Villani says the _Magistri_ came from Rome for
all these works. That was in the days when the great masonic company
had their Grand Lodge in Rome, before the martyrdom of the _Santi
Quattro_, afterwards their patron saints.

In Chapter XLII. Villani relates how when the citizens of Florence
wished to build a temple to Mars, they sent to the Senate of Rome to
beg that they would supply the most capable and clever _Magistri_ that
Rome could furnish. This was done,[6] and the Baptistery was erected
in its first form.

Again whilst Charlemagne and Pope Adrian were employing the Comacines
to rebuild the ruins of Rome, we find from Villani (lib. iii. chap. 1)
that Charlemagne sent some Romans with "all the masters there were in
Rome" (e vennero con quanti maestri n'avea in Roma per più tosto
murarla) to fortify Florence, which had appealed to him for succour
against the Fiesolans. In this manner, says Villani, "the _Magistri_
who came with the Romans began to rebuild our noble city of Florence."

As early as the fifth century Cassiodorus seems to refer to the work
of the Comacines when writing about the "public architects"--the very
expression implies a public company--and admiring the grand Italian
edifices with their "airy columns, slight as canes," he adds, "to be
called _Magister_ is an honour to be coveted, for the word always
stands for great skill."[7]

This brings us to the question of the Latin nomenclature. No really
qualified Comacine architect is ever mentioned either in sculptured
inscription, parchment deed, or in the registers of the lodges,
without the prefix _Magister_, a title which Cassiodorus, for one,
respected. It was not a term applied indiscriminately to all builders,
like _murarius_; and we find that the subordinate ranks of
stone-cutters or masons were called by the generic name of
_operarius_. I take it that the word, as applied to the higher rank of
the Comacine Guild, has the same value as the title of _Master_ in the
old trade guilds of London, _i.e._ one who has passed through the
lower rank of the schools and laborerium, and has by his completed
education risen to the stage of perfection, when he may teach others.

Morrona[8] gives the same definition. Judging from ancient
inscriptions and documents, he says that "operator" (Latin
_operarius_) is used for one who works materially; while _Magister_
signifies the architect who designs and commands. When a _Magister_
carries out his own designs, he is said to be _operator ipse
magister_, as in the case of Magister Rainaldus, who designed and
sculptured the façade of the Duomo at Pisa.

In warlike times such as the Middle Ages, the only means by which
artisans could protect their interests was by mutual protection, and
hence the necessity and origin of Trade Guilds in general. The Masonic
one appears to have been a universal fraternity with an earlier
origin; indeed many of their symbols point to a very ancient Eastern
derivation, and it is probable it was the prototype of all other

Since I began writing this chapter a curious chance has brought into
my hands an old Italian book on the institutions, rites, and
ceremonies of the order of Freemasons.[9] Of course the anonymous
writer begins with Adoniram, the architect of Solomon's Temple, who
had so very many workmen to pay, that not being able to distinguish
them by name, he divided them into three different classes, _novices_,
_operatori_, and _magistri_, and to each class gave a secret set of
signs and passwords, so that from these their fees could be easily
fixed, and imposture avoided. It is interesting to know that precisely
the same divisions and classes existed in the Roman _Collegium_ and
the Comacine Guild--and that, as in Solomon's time, the great symbols
of the order were the endless knot, or Solomon's knot, and the "Lion
of Judah."

Our author goes on to tell of the second revival of Freemasonry, in
its present entirely spiritual significance, and he gives Oliver
Cromwell, of all people, the credit of this revival! The rites and
ceremonies he describes are the greatest tissue of mediæval
superstition, child's play, blood-curdling oaths, and mysterious
secrecy with nothing to conceal, that can be imagined. All the signs
of masonry without a figment of reality; every moral thing masquerades
under an architectural aspect, in that "Temple made without hands"
which is figured by a Freemasons' lodge in these days. But the
significant point is that all these names and masonic emblems point to
something real which existed at some long-past time, _and, as far as
regards the organization and nomenclature, we find the whole thing in
its vital and actual working form in the Comacine Guild_. Our nameless
Italian who reveals all the Masonic secrets, tells us that every lodge
has three divisions, one for the novices, one for the _operatori_ or
working brethren, and one for the masters, besides a meeting or
recreation room; and that no lodge can be established without a
minimum of two masters. Now wherever we find the Comacines at work, we
find the threefold organization of _schola_ or school for the novices,
_laborerium_ for the _operatori_, and the _Opera_ or _Fabbrica_ for
the Masters of Administration.

The anonymous one tells us that there is a _Gran Maestro_ or
_Arch-magister_ at the head of the whole order, a _Capo Maestro_ or
chief Master at the head of each lodge. Every lodge must besides be
provided with two or four _Soprastanti_, a treasurer, and a
secretary-general, besides accountants. This is precisely what we find
in the organization of the Comacine Lodges. As we follow them through
the centuries we shall see it appearing in city after city, at first
dimly shadowed where documents are wanting, but at last fully revealed
by the books of the treasurers and _Soprastanti_ themselves, in Siena,
Florence, and Milan.

Thus, though there is no certain proof that the Comacines were the
veritable stock from which the pseudo-Freemasonry of the present day
sprang, we may at least admit that they were a link between the
classic _Collegia_ and all other art and trade guilds of the Middle
Ages. They were called Freemasons because they were builders of a
privileged class, absolved from taxes and servitude, and free to
travel about in times of feudal bondage. The term was applied to them
both in England and Germany. Findel quotes two old English MSS., one
of 1212, where the words "_sculptores lapidum liberorum_" are in close
conjunction with _cœmentari_, which is the oldest Latin form for
builder; and another dated 1396, where occurs the phrase "_latomos
vocatos fremaceons_." In the rolls of the building of Exeter and
Canterbury cathedrals the word _Freimur_ is frequent, and no better
proof can be given of the way the early Masonic guild came into
England. The Italian term _liberi muratori_ went into Germany with the
Comacine Masters, who built Lombard buildings in many a German city,
before Gothic ones were known; thence it passed Teutonized as
_Freimur_ into England.[10]

Cesare Cantù (_Storia di Como_, vol. i. p. 440) thus describes the

"Our Como architects certainly gave the name to the Masonic companies,
which, I believe, had their origin at this time, though some claim to
derive them from Solomon. These were called together in the _Loggie_
(hence Lodge) by a grand-master to treat of affairs common to the
order, to accept novices, and confer superior degrees on others. The
chief Lodge had other dependencies, and all members were instructed in
their duties to the Society, and taught to direct every action to the
glory of the Lord and His worship; to live faithful to God and the
Government; to lend themselves to the public good and fraternal
charity. In the dark times which were slowly becoming enlightened,
they communicated to each other ideas on architecture, buildings,
stone-cutting, the choice of materials and good taste in design.
Strength, force, and beauty were their symbols. Bishops, princes, men
of high rank who studied architecture fraternized with them, but the
mixture of so many different classes changed in time the spirit of the
Freemasons. The original forms of building were lost when the science
fell into the hands and caprice of venal artisans."[11]

We shall see the way in which the Comacines spread fraternity wherever
they went. When they began building in any new place, they generally
founded a lodge there, which comprised a _laborerium_ and school. Thus
we find one under the Antellami family in Parma before 1200, and not
long after one in Modena under the same masters from Campione. The
lodge is clearly defined at Orvieto and Siena. In Lucca there was a
_laborerium_ before the year 1000. In 1332 it had obtained privileges.
At Milan there was evidently another, for on February 3, 1383, the
archbishop invites the architects _Fratelli_ (brethren), and others
who understand the work, to inspect the models for the cathedral; now
these words evidently refer to a Masonic brotherhood, as does the term
_Opera Magiestatem_ so often met with in old documents.

In the Marches of Ancona is a sepulchre inscribed to the _fratres
Comacini_, and in the Abruzzi are chapels dedicated by them. In Rome
it is recorded that they met in the church of SS. Quattro Coronati.
These patron saints of the guild, the four holy crowned ones (Santi
Quattro Coronati), strike me as having a peculiar significance in
regard to their origin. We are told that during the persecutions under
Diocletian, four brethren, named Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorio, and
Superian[12] (either brothers, or more likely members of the same
_Collegium_), who were famous for their skill in building and
sculpture, refused to exercise their art for the pagan Emperor. "We
cannot," they said, "build a temple for false gods, nor shape images
in wood or stone to ensnare the souls of others." They were all
martyred in different ways: one scourged, one shut up and tortured in
an iron case, one thrown into the sea; the other was decapitated.
Their relics were in the time of St. Leo placed in four urns, and
deposited in the crypt of the church, which was built to their honour,
in the time of Honorius, by the Comacines then in Rome. It has always
been the especial church of the guild, and their meeting-place. They
had an altar dedicated to the same saints at Siena, and another at
Venice. We find from the statutes of the Sienese guild as late as the
fourteenth century, that the _fête_ of the "Quattro" was kept in a
special manner by the Masonic guild. All the Church _fêtes_ are
classed together as days when no work is to be done, but the day of
the SS. Quattro has two laws all to itself, and is kept with peculiar

On the altar of this church on Mount Aventine are silver busts of the
four Magister martyrs; and on the wall is an ancient inscription, as


If I interpret the abbreviations M͞R. F͞RM and FA͞ML aright,
this inscription would imply that members of each of the three grades
of the Roman Masonic guild, Magister, Fratres, and Famuli
(apprentices), were martyred together, and their remains placed in
this church with the relics of some proto-martyrs. The _Magistri_ were
afterwards canonized, and the four I have named became the patron
saints of the guild. S. Carpophorus was held in special veneration in
Como, of which place he was probably a native, or else a Greek member
of the Comacine Lodge there.

The other side of the inscription chronicles the restoration of the
altar which was ruined and broken down, in the time of Pope Paschalis
Secundus, A.D. 1111, in the fourth Indiction.

The church of the SS. Quattro has remains of a fine atrium or portico.
In the wall of the atrium is a fragment of _intreccio_. The original
form of the church is well preserved, and is identical with that of S.
Agnese, _fuori le mura_. The gallery for the women is well preserved.

The especial veneration for the four crowned martyrs seems to point to
their Roman origin, and to specify the reason why the remnant of the
particular _Collegium_ to which they belonged fled from Rome, and took
refuge in the safe little republic of Como, so that it was not only
the Goths and Vandals from whom they fled. It explains also the
intense religion in their work, and rules; the very first principles
of which were to respect God's name, and do all to His glory.

It need not excite wonder that any guild should have fled from Rome in
these centuries. This was the time that Gregory the Great, painted so
graphically in his passionate Homily of Ezechiel, preached at Rome.
"Everywhere see we mourning, hear we laments; cities, strongholds,
villages are devastated; the earth is a desert. No busy peasants are
in the fields, few people in the cities, and these last relics of
human kind daily suffer new wounds. There is no end to the scourging
of God's judgment.... We see some carried into slavery, others cruelly
mutilated, and yet more killed. What joy, oh my brethren, is left to
us in life? If it is still dear to us we must look for wounds, and not
for pleasures. Behold Rome, once Queen of the world, to what is she
reduced?--prostrated by the sorrows and desolation of her citizens, by
the fierceness of her enemies and frequent ruin, the prophecy against
Samaria has been fulfilled in her. Here no longer have we a senate;
the people are perished, save the few who still suffer daily. Rome is
empty, and has barely escaped the flames; her buildings are thrown
down. The fate of Nineveh is already upon her...."[14]

The Longobard invaders were more merciful than the Goths, for not long
after their rule was over, another Pope wrote to Pepin--"Erat sanæ hoc
mirabile in regno Longobardorum, nulla erat violenta nulla struebantur
insidiæ. Nemo aliquem iniuste angariabat, nemo spoliabat. Non erat
furta, non latrocinia, unusquisque quodlibebat securus sine timore
pergebat."--_Histor. Franc. Scrip._ Tom. III. cap. xvi.

Whatever the moving cause, the fact remains that in the Middle Ages
the Comacine Masters had a nucleus on that strong little fortified
island of Comacina, which, together with Como itself, stood against
the Lombards in the sixth century for twenty years before being
subjugated; and in the twelfth, held its own independence for a
quarter of a century against Milan and the Lombard League, which it
refused to join.

When at length the Longobards became their rulers, they respected
their art and privileges. The guild remained free as it had been
before, and in this freedom its power must have increased fast.

The Masters worked liberally for their new lords, but it was as paid
architects, not as serfs. As a proof we may cite an edict signed by
King Luitprand on February 28, 713. It is entitled _Memoratorio_, and
is published by Troya in his _Codex Diplomaticus Longobardus_.

It fixes the prices of every kind of building. Here are the titles of
the seven clauses, referring to the payments of the _Magistri
Comacini_: _De Mercede Comacinorum_--

CLVII. Capit. i. De Sala. "Si sala fecerit, etc."

CLVIII. Capit. ii. De Muro. "Si vero murum fecerit qui usque ad pedem
unum sit grossus ... cum axes clauserit et opera gallica fecerit ...
si arcum volserit, etc."

Capit. iii. De annonam Comacinorum.

CLIX. Capit. iv. De opera.

CLX. Similiter romanense si fecerit, sic repotet sicut gallica opera.

Capit. v. De Caminata.

CLXI. Capit. vi. De marmorariis.

CLXII. Si quis axes marmoreas fecerit ... et si columnas fecerit de
pedes quaternos aut quinos ...

Capit. vii. De furnum.

CLXIII. Capit. viii. De Puteum. Si quis puteum fecerit ad pedes

The Longobard rule explains why the Comacine Masters of the thirteenth
century were known as Lombards, and the architecture of that time as
the "Lombard style." In the same way they were called _Franchi_ when
Charlemagne was their king; and _Tedeschi_ when the German dynasty
conquered North Italy; if indeed the words _artefici Franchi_ do not
merely signify Freemasons, which I strongly suspect is the true

To understand the connection of this guild of architects with little
Como we must glance backwards at the state of that province under the
Romans, when it was a colony ruled by a prefect. Junius Brutus himself
was one of these rulers, and Pliny the Younger a later one. At this
time Como was a large and flourishing city. It had in Cæsar's time a
theatre whose ruins were found near S. Fedele; a gymnasium for the
games, which was near the present church of Santa Chiara. A document
dated 1500 speaks of the Arena of Como as then still existing. The
_campus martius_ was at S. Carpoforo, where several Roman
inscriptions, urns, and medals were found. This valuable collection of
Latin inscriptions, found in and about Como, proves the successive
rule of emperors, prefects, military tribunes, naval prefects,
Decurions, etc. We have records also of Senators, Decemviri, and other
municipal magistrates. The inscriptions also show that there were
temples to Jove, Neptune, the _Dea Bona_, the Manes, the _Dea Mater_,
Silvanus, Æsculapius, Mars, Diana, Hygeia, and even Isis.

Some Cippi are dedicated to Mercury and Hercules; and one found near
S. Maria di Nullate was inscribed by order of the Comacines to
_Fortuna Obsequente_, "for the health of the citizens." To this day a
_Prato Pagano_ (pagan field) exists near Como. All these proofs,
together with Pliny's testimony, go to show that Como was in Roman
times an important centre, and as such was likely to have its own
_Collegia_ or trade guilds, to one of which probably Pliny's builder,
Mustio, belonged, and to which the Roman refugees naturally fled as

Pliny the Younger at that time lived at Como, in his delightful villa,
_Comedia_. In his grounds, on a high hill, were the ruins of the
temple of the Eleusinian Ceres, and he determined to restore this
temple, as devotees flocked there during the Ides of September, and
had no refuge from sun or rain.[16] His letter to "Mustio," a Comacine
architect, gives the commission for this restoration, and after
explaining the form he wished the design to take, he concludes--"At
least unless you think of something better, you, whose art can always
overcome difficulties of position." For Pliny, fresh from Rome, to
give such praise to an architect at Como, shows that even at that time
good masters existed there.

Another letter of Pliny's (Lib. X. Epist. xlii.) speaks of the villa
of his friend Caninus Rufus, on the same lake, with its beautiful
porticoes and baths, etc., and of the many other villas, palaces,
temples, forums, etc., which embellished Como and its neighbourhood.

Catullus lived here when the poet Cæcilius, whose works have now
perished, invited him to leave the hills of Como, and the shores of
Lario, to join him in Verona.

Pliny seems to confirm the existence of guilds,[17] as he speaks of
the institution of a _Collegium_ of iron-workers, who wished to be
patented by the Emperor, but Trajan refused to form new guilds, for
fear of the _Hetæriæ_ or factions which might infiltrate into them.

Mommsen, in his work _De Collegiis et Sodalitiis Romanorum_, says
that under the emperors no guild was allowed to hold meetings, except
by special laws, yet though new companies were not to be formed, the
existing ones of architects and artisans were permitted to continue
after public liberty was lost. Several documents prove that the chief
scope of these unions was to promote the interests of their art, to
provide mutual assistance in the time of need, to succour the sick and
poor, and to bury the dead.

The trade guilds in London, the _Arti_ in Florence, and the town clubs
kept up in England till lately, seem to be all survivals of these
ancient classical societies.

Besides the Builders' Society, Como had, in Roman times, a nautical
guild. An inscription is extant, dedicated to C. Messius Fortunatus by
the _Collegium nautarum Comensium_. This guild sent twenty ships of
war to Venice in Barbarossa's time.

But besides having privileged societies, Como and its Comacine islands
were a privileged territory, and might almost have been called a
republic. We have, it is true, no documentary evidence of this dating
back to pre-Longobardic times, but as Otho in 962[18] confirmed the
islands in all former privileges granted by his predecessors on the
Imperial throne, we may fairly suppose the privileges dated from times
far anterior to himself.

This is an anglicized version of his decree, which was granted on the
petition of the Empress Adelaide--

"In the name of the Holy and indivisible Trinity, Otho, by the will of
God, august Emperor. If we incline to the demands of our faithful
people, much more should we lend our ear to the prayers of our beloved
consort. Know then, all ye faithful subjects of the Holy Church of
God, present and future, that the august Empress Adelaide, our wife,
invokes our clemency, that for her sake we receive under our
protection the inhabitants of the Comacine islands, and surrounding
places known as Menasie (_sic_), and we confirm all the privileges
which they have enjoyed under our predecessors, and under ourselves
before we were anointed Emperor, viz. they shall not be called on for
military service, nor have _arbergario_ (taxes on roads and bridges),
nor pay _curatura_ (tax on beasts), _terratico_ (tax on land),
_ripatico_ (on ships), or the _decimazione_ (tax on householders) of
our kingdom, neither shall they be obliged to serve in our councils,
except the general assembly at Milan, which they shall attend three
times a year. All this we concede, etc. Given on the 8th before the
calends of September, in the year of the Incarnation 962, first year
of the reign of the most pious Otho."--_Indiction V. in Como._

The hypothesis that this decree refers to a long-existing liberty is
confirmed by the history of Como in the time of Justinian I. Up to the
middle of the sixth century a certain Imperial Governor of Insubria,
named Francione, who had seen Rome sacked and his own state taken,
fled to Comacina as a free place of refuge when Alboin invaded Italy.
He helped the Comacines to hold out against the barbarians for more
than twenty years, and so secure was the place considered that the
island was by Narses and others made the depositary of infinite
treasures. With him multitudes of Romans had taken refuge there, but
finally even this fell into the hands of the Longobards. We are told
that Autharis subjugated Istria, and after a six months' siege,
possessed himself of the very strongly fortified island of Comacina on
the lake of Como, where he found immense treasures, doubtless part of
the traditional wealth amassed by Narses, and which as well as much
private property had been deposited here for security by the
neighbouring peoples.[19]

Here then, four centuries before Otho's decree, we have Comacina as a
place of refuge in troublous times, chosen because, being a free city,
it was considered more safe than other towns. We need not then
consider it improbable, if in the dark centuries when the Roman Empire
was dying out, and its glorious temples and streets falling into ruin
under the successive inroads of half-savage despoilers; when the arts
and sciences were falling into disuse or being enslaved; and when no
place was safe from persecution and warfare, the guild of the
Architects should fly for safety to almost the only free spot in
Italy; and here, though they could no longer practise their craft,
they preserved the legendary knowledge and precepts which, as history
implies, came down to them through Vitruvius from older sources, some
say from Solomon's builders themselves.

Among the treasures must have been works of Greek and Roman art, that
kept alive the old spirit among the guild of builders gathered there;
but alas! after the long generations when art was decaying, and
uncalled for, their hands lost their skill, they could no longer
reproduce the perfect works.

It was here the Longobards found them, and in their new Christian zeal
soon furnished them with work enough.


  568.    Alboin conquers Italy; he was poisoned by his wife Rosamund
          for compelling her to drink out of her father's skull.

  573.    Cleoph (assassinated).

  575.    Autharis (poisoned).

  591.    Agilulf.

  615.    Adaloald. He was poisoned.

  625.    Ariold.

  636.    Rotharis. He married Ariold's widow, and published a code
          of laws.

  652.    Rodoald (son), assassinated.

  653.    Aribert (uncle).

  661.    Bertharis and Godebert (sons); dethroned by--

  662.    Grimoald, Duke of Beneventum.

  671.    Bertharis (re-established).

  686.    Cunibert (son).

  700.    Luitbert; dethroned by--

  701.    Ragimbert.

  701.    Aribert II. (son).

  712.    Ansprand elected.

  712.    Luitprand (son); a great prince, favourite of the Church.

  744.    Hildebrand (nephew), deposed.

  744.    Ratchis, Duke of Friuli, elected, but afterwards became a monk.

  749.    Astolfo (brother).

  756.    Desiderius, quarrelled with Pope Adrian, who invited Charlemagne
          to Italy. He defeated and dethroned Desiderius, and
          put an end to the Lombard kingdom.


[2] "Si Magister Comacinus, cum collegis suis, domum ad restaurandum,
vel fabricandum super se placito finito de mercede susceperit, et
contigerit aliquem per ipsam domum aut materiam, aut lapide lapso
moti, aut quodlibet damnum fieri, non requiratur domino, cuius domus
fuerit, nisi Magister Comacinus cum consortibus suis ipsum homicidium
aut damnum componat, qui postquam fabulam firmatam de mercede pro suo
lucro susciperit, non immerito sustinet damnum."

[3] "Si quis Magister Comacinum unum aut plures rogaverit, aut
conduxerit ad operam dictandum, aut solatium diurnum praestandum inter
suos servos ad domum aut casam faciendam et contigerit per ipsam
casam, aliquem ex ipsis Comacinis mori non requiratur ab ipso, cuius
casa est. Nam si cadens arbor, aut lapis ex ipsa fabrica, et occiderit
aliquem extraneum, aut quodlibet damnum fecerit, non reputetur culpa
magistro, sed ille qui conduxit, ipsum damnum sustineat."--From the
_Edict of Rotharis_--edited by Troyes.

[4] Stieglitz, _Geschichte der Baukunst_, 1827, pp. 423, 424. See also
Hope's _Historical Essay on Architecture_, 1835, pp. 229-237.

[5] See Hope's _Historical Essay on Architecture_, 3rd edition, 1840,
chap. xxi. pp. 203-216.

[6] E mandaro al Senato di Roma, che mandassi loro i più sofficienti
maestri, e più sottili (subtle) che fossero in Roma: e cosi fu
fatto.--_Storia_ di G. Villani. Libro primo, cap. xlii.

[7] Cassiodorus, _Variorum_, Lib. VI. Epist. vi. _Ad Prefectum Urbis
De Architecta Publicorum_.

[8] Morrona, _Pisa illustrata nelle Arti del Disegno_, p. 160. Pisa,

[9] _Instituzioni, riti e ceremonie dell' ordine de' Francs-Maçons,
ossia Liberi Muratori._--In Venezia MDCCLXXXVIII, presso Leonardo
Bassaglia, Con Licenza de' Superiori.

[10] The Charter Richard II. for the year 1396, quoted in the _Masonic
Magazine_ (1882), has the following entry--"341 Concessimus
archiepiscopo Cantuar, quod, viginti et quatuor lathomos vocatus ffre
Maceons et viginti et quatuor lathomos vocatos ligiers ... capere ...
possit." Here then at Canterbury is the same thing as at Milan, and
all other ancient cathedral-building cities,--the master builders are
Freemasons, _i.e._ of the great and universal guild,--the underlings
who assist them have not the same rank and privilege. The Act Henry
VI., c. 12, 1444, says in queer mixed parlance--"Les gagez ascun frank
mason ou maister Carpenter nexcede pas par le jour IIIJ d. (denari)
ovesque mangier & boier ... un rough mason and mesne Carpenter ... III
d. par le jour." Here we recognize the same distinction of grades
between the master who has matriculated and the mason of lower grade.
It is interesting also to note that the master carpenter is equally a
Freemason as well as the master builder. In Italy the same peculiarity
is noticeable; the _magister lignamine_, whose work was to make
scaffoldings and roofs, is a member of the _Maestranze_, just as much
as the _magister lapidorum_, and yet a master in wood is never a
stonemason. The members seem to have been grounded in all the
branches, but only graduated in one of them. The author of the article
"Freemason" in the _New English Dictionary on Historical Principles_,
seems to be perplexed over the expression "_maestre mason de franche
peer_" ("master mason of free-stone"); but this is merely the
equivalent of the Latin _magister lapidus vivum_, from _Saxum vivum_,
free-stone, which merely means a sculptor, in distinction to an
architect, who was _magister inzignorum_.

[11] At one era in Lombard times a law was made that no marble was to
be used in building, except by royal persons--which accounts for all
the Lombard churches being sculptured in _Saxum vivum_, or free-stone.
There may have been a similar custom in England where marble was

[12] There were other five martyrs of the Masonic guild, whose names
have been given as Carpoferus, Severus, Severanus, Victorianus, and
Symphorian. I have taken the four "Coronati" from the statutes of the
Venetian _Arte_.

[13] Mrs. Jameson finds the Santi Quattro illustrated in a predella in
Perugia Academy. In one scene they are kneeling before the Emperor
with their implements in their hands. In another they are bound to
four columns and tortured. In a third they are in an iron cage and
being thrown into the sea. In their own church they are represented as
lying in one sarcophagus with crowns on their heads. In sculpture they
also occur on the façades of several early churches; on the Arco di S.
Agostino, and lastly on Or San Michele at Florence, where Nanni di
Banco had so much trouble in squeezing the four of them into one
niche, that Donatello had to help him. These sculptures were placed by
the _Arte_ of masons and stone-cutters, and they naturally chose their
patron saints.

[14] _Gregor. Epist._ Tom. III. Epist. iv. an. 755.

[15] Pietro Giannone, an exile from Naples, contemporary of Muratori,
was the first to mention this _Memoratorio_, which he said he had seen
among the precious codices of the monks at Cava dei Tirreni; that it
contained 152 laws, seven of which were added specially for the
Comacine Masters.

[16] See _Epistola ad Mustio_, 39, lib. ix.

[17] Lib. X. Epist. xliii.

[18] Muratori, _Novus Thesaurus veterum Inscriptorum_, Vol. I. chap.
vii. p. 526.

[19] _Antiq. Long. Mil._ Tom. I. chap. i. p. 17.




          |About |                         |
     1.   |  712 |Magister Ursus           | Sculptured the altar at
          |      |                         | Ferentilla, and a ciborium at
          |      |                         | S. Giorgio di Valpolicella,
          |      |                         | for King Luitprand.
          |      |                         |
     2&3. |  712 |M. Ivvintino and Ivviano.| Disciples of Ursus.
          |      | (Joventino and          |
          |      |   Joviano)              |
          |      |                         |
     4.   |   "  |Magister Giovanni        | Made the tomb of S. Cumianus.
          |      |                         |
     5.   |  739 |M. Rodpert               | Worked at Toscanella, and
          |      |                         | bought land there.
          |      |                         |
     6.   |  742 |M. Piccone               | Architect employed by Gunduald
          |      |                         | at Lucca: he received a gift
          |      |                         | of lands in Sabine in 742.
          |      |                         |
     7.   |      |M. Auripert              | A painter patronized by King
          |      |                         | Astolph.

It was on April 2, 568, that the Longobards under Alboin, with their
wives and children and with all their belongings, "_colle loro mogli e
figli, e con tutte le sostanze loro_," first came down and took
Friuli. Alboin gave the government there to Gisulph, his nephew,
leaving with him many of the chief and bravest families, and a
high-bred race of horses (_generosa razza di cavalli_).

Next he took Vicenza and Verona, and in September 569 passed into
Liguria--which then extended from the Adda to the Ligurian Sea,--and
conquered Milan. To this add Emilia, and later, Ravenna and Tuscany,
and the first Lombard kingdom was complete.

From this kingdom depended the three dukedoms of Friuli, Spoleto, and
Beneventum. The last was added in the time of Autharis (575-591) when,
like Canute, he rode into the sea at Reggio in Calabria, and touching
the waves with his lance, cried--"These alone shall be the boundary of
the Longobards."[20]

This Autharis married Theodolinda, a Christian. He was an Arian, but
by her means he became Catholic. After his death, in 590, she chose
Agilulf, who reigned with her twenty-five years.[21]

Paulus Diaconus gives the following very pretty account of
Theodolinda's two betrothals--

"It was expedient for Autharis, the young King of the Lombards, to
take a wife, and an ambassador was sent to Garibald, King of Bavaria,
to propose an alliance with his daughter Theodolinda. Autharis
disguised himself as one of the suite, with the object of seeing
beforehand what his bride was like. She was sent for by her father and
bidden to hand some wine to the guests. Having served the ambassador
first, she handed the cup to Autharis, and in giving him the serviette
after drinking, he managed to press her hand. The princess blushed,
and told the incident to her nurse, who in a prophetic manner assured
her that he must be the king himself, or he would not have dared to
touch her.

"Soon after, on the Franks invading Bavaria, Theodolinda with her
brother fled to Italy, where Autharis met her near Verona, and the
marriage was solemnized on the Ides of May, A.D. 589.

"Amongst the guests were Agilulf, Duke of Turin, and with him a youth
of his suite, son of an augur; in a sudden storm a tree near them was
struck by lightning, on which the young augur said to Agilulf--'The
bride who has arrived to-day will shortly wed you.' Agilulf was so
angry at what seemed a disrespect to the king and queen, that he
threatened to cut off his page's head, who replied--'I may die, but I
cannot change destiny.' And truly, when a few years after Autharis was
poisoned at Pavia, Theodolinda's people were so attached to her, that
they offered her the kingdom if she would elect a Longobard as

"Destiny had decreed that she should choose Agilulf. The same ceremony
of offering him a cup of wine was gone through, and he kissed her hand
as she gave it. The queen blushing said--'He who has a right to the
mouth need not kiss the hand.' So Agilulf knew that he was her chosen

"She was a Christian, and a favourite disciple of Gregory the Great.
Her good life and prayers were able to convert Agilulf to orthodox
Christianity, for like many Longobards of the time he had fallen into
the Arian heresy. In gratitude for this she vowed a church to St. John
Baptist, and a miraculous voice inspired her as to the site at
Modœcia, or '_oppidum moguntiaci_.'"

It was under these Christianized invaders that the Comacine Masters
became active and influential builders again, and it is here that the
actual history of the guild begins.

It is apparent that what are called Lombard buildings could not have
been the work of the Longobards themselves. Symonds realized this
difficulty, but had not solved the question as to _who_ built the
Lombard churches, when he wrote[22]--"The question of the genesis of
the Lombard style, is one of the most difficult in Italian art
history. I would not willingly be understood to speak of Lombard
architecture in any sense different from that in which it is usual to
speak of Norman. To suppose that either the Lombards or the Normans
had a style of their own, prior to their occupation of districts from
the monuments of which they learned rudely to use the decayed Roman
manner, would be incorrect. Yet it seems impossible to deny that both
Normans and Lombards, in adapting antecedent models, added something
of their own, specific to themselves as northerners. The Lombard, like
the Norman, or the Rhenish Romanesque, is the first stage in the
progressive mediæval architecture of its own district."

It appears possible, however, that the Longobards had very little to
do with the architecture of their era except as patrons. Was there
ever a stone Lombard building known out of Italy before Alboin and his
hordes crossed the Alps? or even in Italy during the reigns of Alboin
and Cleoph, their first kings?

But there were older buildings of precisely the same style, in Italy
and in Como itself, dating from the time when the Bishops ruled, long
before the Longobards came. There were the churches of S. Abbondio and
S. Fedele. The latter was built in Abbondio's own time, about 440-489,
and first dedicated to S. Euphemia. It was rebuilt later by the
Comacines under the Longobards, but its form was not changed. The
former, said to have been built by the Bishop Amantius, was first
dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, whose relics he placed here. These
two are certainly the oldest churches existing in Como.

Amantius the Byzantine ordained S. Abbondio, who was a Macedonian, as
his successor, and he too became eminent in his time, and is still
venerated as a patron Saint in all the Milanese district. Pope Leo
sent him to Constantinople as his Legate, to interview the Patriarch
Anastasius, and also deputed him to form the Council with Eusebius,
at Milan. The Greek touch in the Lombard ornamentation may be
accounted for by Greek sculptors assisting the Italian builders in the
time of these Eastern bishops.

But, to return to the Longobards:--it was only when the civilization
of Italy began to tell on them, and Christianity refined their minds,
that they commenced to patronize the Arts, and revived the fading
traditions of the builders' guild into practice, for the glorification
of their religious zeal. "Little by little," says Muratori, "the
barbarous Longobards became more polished (_andavano disrugginendo_)
by taking the customs and rites of the Italians. Many of them were
converted from Arianism to Catholicism, and they vied with the
Italians in piety and liberality towards the Church of God, building
both Hospices and Monasteries."[23]

The Comacine Masters were undoubtedly the only architects employed by
them, so we are sure that in the Lombard churches of this era, we see
the Comacine work of the first or Roman-Lombard style.

Autharis and Theodolinda were the first orthodox Christians: indeed
Theodolinda, who was baptized by Gregory the Great, and formed a
special friendship with him, became a shining light in the Church. To
them is probably due the honour of inaugurating the Renaissance of
Comacine art. Autharis, though an Arian, first employed the Masters of
the guild to build a church and monastery at Farfa on the banks of the
Adda, not far from Monza. They have long been ruined, but ancient
writers quote them as fine and rich works of architecture. Next,
Theodolinda and her second husband, Agilulf, the succeeding king,
built the cathedral at Monza, which they resolved should be worthy of
the new creed. This cathedral was the prototype of all the Lombard

Before proceeding further it may be well to define precisely the
difference between Eastern and Western forms in these centuries, while
they were as yet distinct.

As we have said, the Basilica was the type of Roman or Western
architecture, a type which passed afterwards to the East, where the
cupola was added to it.

The Comacine Guild, being a survival of the Roman _Collegium_, had of
course Roman traditions, and took naturally this Roman type of the
Basilica,[24] which form they adapted to the uses of the Christian
Church, while its ornamentation was suited to the taste of the

The Basilica, as Vitruvius explains it, was a room where the ruler and
his delegates administered justice. But when, after the persecutions,
Christians were allowed their churches, the Basilicæ so well supplied
the needs of Christian worship, that either the ancient ones were used
as churches, or new buildings were erected in the same form; so that
by the fourth century the word Basilica was understood to mean a
church remarkable for its size, and of a set form and grandeur, with a
raised tribune. The Basilicæ of Constantine were all dedicated to
Saints--St. Peter, St. Paul, Beato Marcellino. The Sessorian Basilica
was begun in 330, to hold the relics of the Cross, discovered by the
Empress Helena. From the time of the edict of Theodosius, however,
Christian architecture took a new and independent character; and this
was when the Basilica became amplified and beautified.

The Oriental churches, on the other hand, were derived from the
antique synagogue, in which concentric forms, either circular or
polygonal, predominated. In their later development four equal arms
were added, and here we get the Greek Cross, in the centre of which
arose the dome.

In the Romanesque, or Comacine style of the ninth to the fourteenth
centuries, the form becomes more complicated. We have, 1. the
sanctuary or presbytery; 2. the apse for the choir; 3. the transepts;
4. the normal square or centre; 5. the elongated nave; 6. the aisles;
7. the atrium or portico.

In Theodolinda's time, however, church architecture in Lombardy was
wholly and purely Roman, with the influences of mediæval Christianity.
Ricci tells us that the construction of the first churches followed a
symbolical expression. "Hermeneutic symbolism required that the apse
or choir should face the east, so that the faithful while praying had
that part before them."

A very usual form was the tri-apsidal church, of which many specimens
still exist. S. Pietro a Grado, near Pisa, is a beautiful specimen of

Around the apse of a Lombard church was a portico where the penitents
and catechumens might stand, who were not yet admitted to the altar.
On high were _loggie_ (galleries) "for the virgins and women." The
tribune was elevated and often ornamented with a railing, the crypt or
confessional being beneath it. The crypt signified a memory of the
early Christians, when subterranean catacombs formed the church of the
faithful. The altar was generally the tomb of a martyr, in fulfilment
of the text--"I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain
for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held" (Rev. vi.

Where the original form of the Lombard church has not been altered, as
in the first Monza church, all these parts may be still seen.

We are expressly told by Ricci,[25] that for the building of her
church at Monza, Queen Theodolinda availed herself of those _Magistri
Comacini_, who, as Rotharis describes them in his laws 143 and 144,
were qualified architects and builders.

It seems that even though all Italy was subjugated by the Longobards,
the _Magistri Comacini_ retained their freedom and privileges. They
became Longobard citizens, but were not serfs; they retained their
power of making free contracts, and receiving a fair price for their
work, and were even entitled to hold and dispose of landed

Therefore it was by a free contract, and not in any spirit of
servitude, that the Comacines undertook the building of Theodolinda's

It is difficult to imagine what the church was in Theodolinda's time,
as its form was altered in the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. Ricci
says that the antique Monza Basilica terminated at what is now the
first octagon column, on which rest the remains of the primitive
façade. Four columns supported the arched tribune, and the high altar
was raised above the level of the church. In front was the _atrium_,
supported by porticoes, and he thinks that the sculptures in the
present façade are the old ones.

   _See page 39._]

Cattaneo, the Italian authority on Lombard architecture, does not
believe in the present existence of even this much of Theodolinda's
church, and in disclaiming the façade, disclaims also the sculpture on
it, especially the one over the door, where Agilulf and Theodolinda
offer the diadem of the cross to St. John the Baptist, and are shown
as wearing crowns, which the early Lombard kings did not do.[27]
The figures have, it is true, the entire style of the twelfth century,
when later Comacines restored the church. Cattaneo thinks that the
only sculpture which can safely be dated from Theodolinda's own time,
is a stone which might have been an altar frontal, on which is a rude
relief of a wheel circle, emblem of Eternity, flanked by two crosses
with the letters _alpha_ and _omega_ hanging to the arms of them. It
is a significant fact that the Alpha is in the precise form of the
Freemason symbol of the compasses, and in the wheel-like circle one
sees the beginning of that symbol of Eternity, the unbroken line with
neither end nor beginning, which the Comacines in after centuries
developed into such wonderful _intrecci_ (interlaced work). The
sculpture is extremely rude; by way of enriching the relief, the
artist has covered the crosses and circles with drill-holes. Now this
is a most interesting link, connecting the debased Roman art with this
beginning of the Christian art in the West (the early Ravenna
sculptors do not count, being imported from the East). On examining
any of the late Roman cameos, or _intagli_, or even their stone
sculpture, after the fall of classical art in Hadrian's time, one may
perceive the way in which the drill is constantly made use of instead
of the chisel.

So these Comacine artists began with the only style of art they had
been educated up to, and though retaining old traditions they had
fallen out of practice, during a century or two, while invaders
ravaged their country, and had to begin again with low art, little
skill, and unused imagination. But with the new impulse given to art,
their skill increased, they gained a wider range of imagination,
greater breadth of design, going on century by century, as we shall
trace, from the first solid, heavy, little structures, to the airy
lightness of the florid Romanesque--the marriage of East and West.

Another _chiesa graziosissima_, said to have been founded by
Theodolinda, was that of Santa Maria del Tiglio, near Gravedona, on
the left bank of Lake Como, which Muratori says was already ancient in
823, when the old chronicler Aimoninus describes it (_Aimoninus de
Gestis Francorum_, iv. 3). It has been much altered since that time,
but as Prof. Merzario writes--"When one reflects that it was the work
of a thousand years ago, and when one considers the lightness of
design, the elegance of the arches, windows, columns, and colonnettes,
one must perforce confess that even at that epoch Art was blossoming
in the territory of Como, under the hands of the _Maestri Comacini_."

Theodolinda also founded the monastery of Monte Barro, near Galbiate;
the church of S. Salvatore in Barzano, a little mountain church at
Besano above Viggiu; that of S. Martino at Varenna; and the church,
baptistery, and castle of Perleda above it; in which latter it is said
she died. Queen Theodolinda was accustomed to spend the hot months of
summer on the banks of the lake, and a part of the road near Perleda
Castle is still called _Via Regina_ (the Queen's road), in memory of
her. King Cunibert, too, loved the banks of Como.

There is always some pretty, graceful reason in Theodolinda's
church-building, very different to the reasons of many of the kings.
Theirs were too often sin-offerings, built in remorse, but hers were
generally thank-offerings, built in love. For instance, the church at
Lomella, which she erected in memory of having first met her second
husband Agilulf there.

Theodolinda also built a church to S. Julia at Bonate, near Val San
Martino, in the diocese of Bergamo; but in these days not much sign is
left of it. The author of the _Antichità Long. Mil._ (Dissertation I.,
p. 120) says that Mario Lupo has published the plan and section of
the church in his _Codice diplomatico_ (_T. I._, p. 204), together
with another, still more magnificent, of almost the same date. It is
dedicated to S. Tommaso, and stands near the river Brembo, at Lemine
in the same diocese. "This church," says the monk who wrote the
_Antichità_, etc., "still exists (in 1792), and is of circular form,
with inferior and superior _porticati_ in the interior, recalling the
design of the ancient church of S. Vitale at Ravenna." Lupo describes
it even in its ruin as an "admirable temple, whose equal, whether for
size, solidity, or elegance, can scarcely be found in Lombardy. Its
perimeter," he says, "may be traced among the thorns and briars of the
surrounding woods, and its form and size may thus be perceived. The
ruins confirm the assertion of the splendour of buildings in Queen
Theodolinda's time, and show that in the beginning of the seventh
century architecture was not so rude as has been supposed, and that
besides solidity of structure, it preserved a just proportion and
harmony of parts, excepting perhaps in the extreme lightness and
inequality of the columns."

We read much in ancient authors of Queen Theodolinda's palace, with
its paintings on the walls, representing Alboin and his wild hordes of
Longobards, with their many-coloured garments, loose hosen, and long
beards. We can believe that these paintings were as rude and mediæval
as their sculpture, whether they were done by savage Longobards or
decayed Romano-Comacine artists. They prove, however, that painting
was one of the branches of art in the guild.

King Agilulf also employed the architects; but it was in a more
military style of architecture--to build castles and bridges. The
castle of Branigola dates from his reign, as does the fine bridge over
the Brembo, and another over the Breggia, between Cernobbio and
Borgovico, near Como. He is also accredited with the building of the
Palazzo della Torre at Turin, with its two octangular towers, and
mixed brick and stone solid architecture. In all these works the
builders, as in modern times, seem to have sometimes lost their lives.
So much so that King Rotharis, A.D. 636, made, as we have seen,
special laws on the subject.

Gundeberg, the daughter of Theodolinda, had a similar fate to her
mother in being the wife of two successive kings (Ariold and
Rotharis). She also imitated her in church-building. The church of S.
Giovanni in Borgo at Pavia, was erected by her.[28] It is said that
after S. Michele this was the finest building of the age. It had a
nave and two aisles, with a gallery over the arches. The apse had the
external colonnade, and practicable gallery, and the octagonal dome.
The façade, as usual, was divided into three parts, and was rich in
symbolical friezes. Half-way up the façade was an ambulatory, on six
double arches and small columns, which communicated with the internal
galleries for the women. This was reached by two spiral stairways cut
in the pilasters of the façade. (In reading this we seem to be reading
over again the description of Hexham in England.) The lower half of
the façade was of sandstone, the upper half of brick adorned "a cacabus,"
_i.e._ inlaid with various convex plates in different-coloured
smalto.[29] It is a great pity that this interesting church was
destroyed in 1811, and its symbolic reliefs and carved stones
ruthlessly used in the foundation of modern buildings. Some were,
however, saved by a nobleman of Pavia, Don Galeazzo Vitali, and are
preserved in his villa between Lodi and Pavia. Here, on May 13, 1828,
the Signori Sacchi[30] went to see them, and found many valuable
specimens of Comacine symbolical art. Here are square slabs which may
have been parts of friezes or _plutei_ (panels of marble), covered
with interlaced work, formed of entwining vines, or even serpents;
sometimes a simple cord in mystic and continuous knots, precisely
similar to the ones recently discovered in S. Agnese and S. Clemente
at Rome. There were several capitals of columns and pilasters with
significant grotesques, such as a man between two lions; a maze of
vines with a satyr in them, possibly an emblem of Christianity which
constrains and civilizes even the wildest natures; two armed warriors
on horseback meeting in battle, figuring the Church militant. (There
is a similar capital in S. Stefano at Pavia.) In one, two hippogriffs
meet at the angles; in another, two dragons with tails intertwined are
biting a man between them placed at the angle. (The same emblem of the
strife with sin is represented in S. Pietro of the "golden roof.") One
is a curious symbol which would seem to be a remnant of paganism, and
represents the fish goddess of Eastern religions. A woman, with only a
fig-leaf for dress, has a double tail instead of legs. She holds the
two ends of this dual tail, while serpents coiling into it suck her
breasts--a very mystic conception of Eve. There is a very remarkable
round mass of stone, with a toothed circle carved on each side, and in
the circles a cross. It is said by Muratori that this stone was placed
high up over the altar so that all worshippers should behold the

A singular ancient Pavian custom was connected with this church. Once
a year a kind of fair was held there, at which nothing was sold but
rings, and no one was allowed to buy them except children and
unmarried women. It is thought that the custom was begun by Gundeberg
herself in commemoration of the gift of three rings, one with a
pearl, and two with jacinth stones, from Gregory the Great.[31] His
letter of congratulation to Theodolinda on the baptism of her little
son Adaloald is still existing. He says "he sends some gifts for her
boy, and three rings for her young daughter Gundeberg." Possibly the
gift of the Pope was placed in the treasury of the church, and
commemorated at first by the sale of blessed amulets in the form of
rings, but which afterwards degenerated into a fair. The custom lasted
till 1669.

Industries of all kinds seem to have flourished under the Longobards;
and the Popes of Rome and other sovereigns made frequent use of
Lombard artificers. A letter from Gregory to Arichi, Duke of Lombardy,
dated 596, asks him to send workmen and oxen to Brescia, to cut down
and cart to Rome some trees for beams in the church of SS. Peter and
Paul, promising him in return a _dono che non sarà indegno di voi_ (a
gift not unworthy of you).[32]

In A.D. 600, Cacanus, King of the Avari (Huns), sent to Agilulf for
marine architects and workmen to build the boats with which Cacanus
took a certain island in Thrace.[33]

As for the Comacine Masters at home, they had plenty of

The seventh and eighth centuries were times of great devotion to the
Church, and consequently a great church-building era. King Luitprand
realized this so strongly that he added to the laws of Rotharis, a
clause permitting his subjects to make legacies to the Church _pro
remedio animæ suæ_; a law, by the way, which was not always healthy in
its action; for it permitted the evil-disposed to indulge in crimes
during their lifetime, and then, by defrauding their natural heirs
of their inheritance, to secure, as they believed, their souls against
eternal punishment, by leaving funds for building a church or a

   _See page 43._]

The will of Eriprand, Duke of Cremona, dated 685, is still extant,
with a legacy to the churches of S. Maria Maggiore, and S. Michele in
Borgo, of that city. Pope Sergius I. restored the Basilica of Ostia,
and founded S. Maria in Via Lata, giving them rich gifts, and Pope
John II. repaired and endowed S. Maria in Trastevere.[34]

Bertharis and Godebert, sons of Aribert, were in 661 dethroned by
Grimoald, Duke of Beneventum; but Bertharis being re-established in
671, recalled his wife Rodelinda and son Cunibert from Beneventum,
where they had been taken as hostages, and in sign of gratitude for
their release, founded the church of S. Agatha al Monte at Pavia,[35]
while his wife Rodelinda founded that of S. Maria _fuori le mura_ in
the same city. Bertharis dedicated his church to S. Agatha because on
the eve of S. Agatha's day he was miraculously saved from being
assassinated by Grimoald, his deposer. On the façade of the church is
inscribed, "Pertharitus Longobardorum Rex Templum hoc S. Agathæ Virg.
et Mart. dicavit anno Christi DCXXVII."

The church had the usual "three naves," and the façade faced the west.
It has since been turned round. As in the Middle Ages it menaced ruin,
the central nave had to be supported by large external buttresses and
internal arches, one of which may be seen above the present doorway;
it once formed the entrance to the choir. When the nave was restored
some of the old Lombard capitals were discovered under the brickwork.
They show the same style as those at S. Michele, and S. Pietro in Ciel
d'oro at Pavia, and have all the marks of Comacine work. One has two
lions very well carved. They meet at the corner, where one head
serves for both. On another is a human figure, his hands holding two
dragons which he has conquered, but whose tails still coil round him.
A fine mediæval allegory of man's struggle with sin.

Rodelinda's round church, S. Maria foris portam (now no more), became
better known as S. Maria _delle pertiche_ (of the poles), because a
royal cemetery was there in which many Lombard kings and nobles were
buried, and according to the usage of the nation the graves were
marked by wooden poles, on the top of each of which was perched a
wooden dove (emblem of the soul), looking towards the place where the
person had died or been killed.[36]

We may account for its circular shape by the fact that it was more a
ceremonial church, than one for ordinary worship. In it Hildebrand was
crowned, or rather received the regal wand of office. It had an
interior ambulatory, an arched colonnade all round it under the roof
in true Lombard style. This colonnade was much used in circular
churches to assist the want of space on great occasions.[37] Some of
the columns were fluted, and appear to have been adapted from an
earlier Roman edifice. Two of them, shortened and with the fluting
planed down, now adorn the gate of Pavia towards Milan. The foundation
of this church has been attributed by Cattaneo to Ratchis. This cannot
be, for in 736, ten years before Ratchis was king, Luitprand became
very ill, and the Longobards met in the church of S. Maria delle
pertiche, and proclaimed Hildebrand as his successor.

To Aribert II. (701-712) is attributed the foundation of the church of
S. Salvatore, outside Porta Marengo at Pavia, where, says Malaspina,
may be noted a great improvement in style in the acute arches, and
more regular and elegant proportions.

The Basilica of S. Pietro de Dom in Brescia dated from about this
time, though it was built independently of Longobardic royal
patronage, being a thank-offering by Bishop Anastasius for the triumph
of the Church over Arianism. This was destroyed when the new Duomo was
built in the seventeenth century, but ancient writers tell us it had
all the true Lombard symbolism of form. The choir was on the west,
facing east; it had the triple nave and triple apse, and the usual
inequality of the columns, some of which are large, others small; some
long, others short, these last being lengthened, some by white marble,
others by dark. I do not understand the significance of this diversity
of column which may be seen in all the Comacine churches of this era.

If we cannot see S. Pietro de Dom, we may see in Brescia a church
equally old, the Rotonda of Santa Maria Maggiore, which the
chroniclers say was begun by the Brescian Duke Marqward, and finished
by his son Frodward, with the assistance of King Grimoald, about 665.
The plan of the church is very interesting; there are two concentric
circles, the inner one formed by eight pilasters, whose arches sustain
the dome, and form the front of the usual ambulatory above. This is
all that can be judged as belonging to the seventh-century church. The
tribune and the upper parts are later, and the crypt is earlier,
being, it is believed, the remains of an early Christian church of S.
Filastrio, though some claim it as Roman.

Cunibert is next on the list of Longobardic church-builders. He built
a church to St. George as a votive offering after his escape from the
attempt which was made to dethrone him in 691 by Alachi, Duke of
Brescia, and two citizens named Aldone and Gransone. To the church of
St. George was attached a cloister for monks, the first Longobardic
monastery founded in the diocese of Milan. Documents and diplomas,
dated 784 and 901, prove the existence of both buildings till the
latter date, but a deed of sale in 998 only speaks of the church,
which still existed in 1792.

On the king's triumphal return to Pavia, he erected at the door of S.
Giovanni, a grand tomb to the priest Zeno, who had lost his life for
him, by dressing in the royal armour and rushing from the king's tent
into the battle.

In A.D. 700 Cunibert descended to Lucca, which had then become a
Longobardic town, and interested himself in the building of a church
to the three saints, Stephen, Laurence, and Vincent; it afterwards
became S. Fredianus. The actual patron may not have been Cunibert
himself, but his majordomo Faulus, who probably was his vice-gerent
there. Two ancient deeds in the adjoining monastery of St. Vincent and
S. Fredianus, dated respectively 685 and 686, prove that Faulus
restored and richly endowed the monastery, and that Bishop Felix
afterwards conceded to the Abbot Babbinus and his monks, a diploma
confirming the munificence of Faulus. The monastery was, so say the
chroniclers, originally built by S. Frediano, Bishop of Lucca, in the
sixth century, and that, when the first unconverted Longobards came
down and drove him out and destroyed his cathedral, he fled for some
years, but on his return he built another church outside the town with
a monastery attached. In this he availed himself of the sculptured
stones and columns of the ancient Roman amphitheatre, erected in Lucca
by Vibius in the time of Trajan. This was the monastery which was
restored by Faulus. When the bones of S. Fredianus were removed to it,
in the time of the Bishop Giovanni II., the church became known as S.
Fredianus. The church built in Cunibert's time was not by any means
the fine building we see now, though, as in Monza, the form of the
old building may be perceived. The ancient apse which has been traced
in the course of some excavations, is a fifth smaller than the present
one, and it is conjectured that the old church, if turned the same
way, would have ended near where the present pulpit stands; and there
was a portico in front of it which is mentioned in some ancient MSS.

The church was certainly differently orientalized, following the
symbolic formula that the choir should face the east; for the
excavations disclosed part of the columns of the nave, buried under
the present presbytery at the back. The circular walls of the choir
were retraced in front of the present altar, and it was proved that
the wall was not continued where the semi-circle of the apse opens;
whereas if the church had been in the same direction it now takes, the
walls would have been continued to the length of the nave.

Cav. Cordero di S. Quintino, in his _Disamine su di alcuni monumenti
Lucchesi_, 1815, was the first to draw attention to the reversed plan
of the old church, which the recent excavations have proved. He states
that it was in the form of a Latin cross, had a nave, and four aisles
and transepts; that its choir was at the west end, facing east, its
façade on the east. It is a misfortune that its origin cannot be
precisely proved, as the archives of S. Fredianus must have been
burned in 1596, when the convent, with other houses, was set on fire,
even if they had survived the former sacking and burning of the
Ghibellines, under Uguccione della Faggiola in 1314.

Next comes _Hic gloriosissimus Rex_, Luitprand, who, we are told,
built many Basilicæ in honour of Christ, in the places where he had
his residences. He was to Lombard art what Lorenzo de' Medici was to
that of the Renaissance. Luitprand was a great employer of our
Comacine Masters, and very probably found them expensive luxuries,
for, as we shall see in the next chapter, he was obliged to legislate
to fix their prices. He even gave the length of his royal foot, as a
guide to measurement.

Luitprand's foot was said to have been an extra long one, and yet,
after great discussions among writers, it has at length been agreed
that Luitprand's foot, and the Roman one used before it, were of the
same length!

Very little, which is at all authentic, remains to us of Luitprand's
churches. S. Pietro[38] in Ciel d'oro (of the golden roof), at Pavia,
which was consecrated by Pope Zacharias in 743, is now a mere modern
church, containing nothing but the round form of its apse to speak of
its antiquity. This golden roof must refer to some mosaics originally
in the tribune, and is, I believe, the first instance of mosaics being
used in a Lombard church. It was built by the Christian king, "for the
better reverence of the sacred remains of that great light of the
church, St. Augustine, which were placed here by him." The corpse of
the saint was redeemed from the Saracens in Sardinia in 743, and the
relics remained in S. Pietro for ten centuries.[39] Luitprand's
church, we are told, was symmetrical and graceful (_grazioso_). The
façade was of the usual Lombard form, with a rather flat gable, and
galleries beneath the eaves; it had narrow, round-arched windows, and
a cross over the central one, cut deep in the stone, as we see in S.
Michele in Pavia.

   (_From a photograph by Brogi._)   _See page 49._]

The finest existing church of the Longobardic times is the Basilica
of S. Michele at Pavia, which is still intact, and may be taken as the
culminating point of the first Lombard style. It has all the
distinctive marks of Comacine work at the period. There is the Roman
form of the Latin cross with nave and two aisles divided by clustered
columns supporting round arches. The walls above the central nave
terminate in a sculptured string course, and over that a clerestory,
the double Lombard arches of which are divided by marble colonnettes
with sculptured capitals. The central nave terminates in a
semi-circular apse, surrounded with pilasters and arches; beneath it
is a crypt supported on two rows of columns whose capitals are covered
with bizarre sculptures. The crypt is now entered by steps beneath the
ones leading to the tribune, but originally it had two entrances at
the sides of the tribune as in the crypt at Torcello, and that of San
Zeno at Verona, which are also of the seventh century. Another
particularity is in the inequality of the aisles, the left wall
tending to the right, the right transept being longer and larger than
the left. This is not, we are told, an accident, but one of the many
symbolical forms used by the Comacines. Cordero and Vitet both refer
to it. The latter says--"Souvent le plan de l'église penché de gauche
à droite. Cette inclination est attribuée, comme on sait, au pieux
désirs d'imiter la position du Sauveur expirant sur la croix."[40] As
a whole the interior is grand and imposing, and as it stands now,
retains the general plan of the original church. Some parts have been
restored in the fifteenth century, especially the four principal piers
which sustain the central arch, but by the difference in the work and
in the sculptures we may easily distinguish the added parts. A Latin
inscription in the apse, without date, proves that the great central
arch of the roof and that of the choir were renewed by Bartolommeo
Negri. There was a Bartolommeo Negri who was canon in 1496, but the
antique style of the epitaph would point to an earlier restorer of the
same name (we all know how families keep the same set of Christian
names for centuries in Italy), especially as the painting in the apse
is attributed to Andrino d'Edesia, who lived about 1330. Some
interesting relics in the church are the circular slabs of black and
green marble, now in the floor of the nave. Tradition, confirmed by
Padre Romualdo, says that these were the stones on which the daïs was
placed for the coronation of the Lombard kings.

Just as the interior of S. Michele at Pavia is the most perfect
existing example of the classical form reduced by the Comacines to
Christian use and symbolism, so is the façade as perfect a specimen of
their mediæval-oriental decoration at this time as can be found. We
give an illustration of it.

The Comacines at this era were perfectly sincere and their façade was
always a true face to the church. The eaves with the airy gallery of
colonnettes beneath them followed the exact line of the low-pitched
roof. It was only when they became eclectic, and their style got mixed
and over-florid, that the false fronts such as we see at Lucca came
in. The inward division of nave and aisle is faithfully marked on the
outside by piers or pilasters. S. Michele has four pilasters dividing
it into the three portions, each one supplied with its round-arched
door. In the fifteenth century the central windows were altered and a
large ugly round orifice was placed above the three Lombard ones. But
in 1861 they had the good taste to open the original windows,
indications of whose masonry were visible in the wall, and to add the
cross, deep cut in the stone, which was a distinctive feature in
façades of this era. Indeed the church may be taken as a type, in all
its aspects, of the Romano-Lombard building. The most remarkable
part is perhaps its ornamentation, which is unique and fanciful to the
highest degree. Besides the carvings on door and window, the whole
façade is striped with lines of sculptured stones, a queer mixture of
angels, demons, saints, and monsters, that seems a nightmare dream of
mediæval superstitions, but are really a mystic Bible in stone. I
shall speak more fully of this in the chapter on Lombard

   _See page 52._]

We must now turn for a few moments to its history, on which great
uncertainty rests. Some authors say that S. Michele at Pavia was built
by Constantine the Great as a thank-offering for the aid given him by
that Saint in his victory over the Franks in 325; but it is possible
they may have confused this church with the one which Sozomenus
asserts that Constantine erected to St. Michael on the banks of the
Hellespont. Other writers, of whom Malaspina is one, claim it as an
Ostrogoth foundation; others again, finding a suspicion of Arianism in
the sculpture of the Annunciation on the south side of the church,
assign it to Agilulf before his conversion from Arianism; while
Gabriel Rosa, author of _Storia dei feudi e dei comuni in Lombardia_,
attributes it to King Grimoald.

This last, however, is disproved by one of Paulus Diaconus' curious
stories. He says "that in A.D. 661, King Bertharis being in peril of
his life by the usurper Grimoald, was saved by his faithful servant
Unulphus, who, throwing over his royal master's shoulders a blanket
and a bearskin, drove him with ill words out of the palace, making
believe he was a drunken slave. Having thus eluded the guards, who
were in Grimoald's pay, and put the king in safety, Unulphus fled for
refuge to the Basilica of St. Michael, till the new king pardoned
him."[41] The church is again mentioned by Paulus Diaconus when he
relates how in 737, when Luitprand judged Pemmonis, Duke of Friuli,
and other noble Longobards accused of sacrilege against Callistus,
Patriarch of Aquileja, one of them named Ersemar fled for refuge to
the Basilica of St. Michael. Again in 774 a certain Trinidius, agent
of King Desiderius, left a house near the Pò at Gravenate, as a legacy
to the "Basilica beatissimi Archangeli Michaelis intra civitatem
Ticinensum pro anima sua." All these things go to prove that the
church existed before Luitprand's time, and that it was especially

St. Michael, being a warlike saint, was the Longobards' favourite
object of reverence. When Alachi tried to depose King Cunibert, he
suddenly and mysteriously refused to fight the king, because he saw a
vision of St. Michael standing beside him; then Alachi knew the battle
would go against himself if he hazarded it.

When the Longobards went forth to war, they carried the effigy of St.
Michael before them on their standard. It was also impressed on their
coins with the inscription _S. C. S. Màhel_, or sometimes _Mihail_,
spelling in those days not being at all a fixed quantity.

But to return to our church-building king, Luitprand.

He erected the monastery of S. Abbondio at Bercela in the mountains,
and one dedicated to S. Anastasia, near his suburban villa called
_Cortelona_ (Corte di Alona). In this villa he had a private chapel,
he being the first prince who had daily mass said by priests in his
own house.[42] He had a favourite doctor named Gunduald, who, assisted
by Luitprand's royal munificence, founded the monasteries of Palazzolo
and Pitiliano near Lucca. At his intercession Luitprand, by a diploma
dated 742, gave Magister Piccone, Gunduald's architect, lands in
Sabine, which shows the value Luitprand set on the arts, and this
Magister especially.

Astolfo, a later king, was an equally liberal patron of the arts; he
gave the revenues of the church of S. Pietro at Pavia to Auripert, a
painter whom he greatly esteemed. Astolfo built the monastery of
Nonantola, of which some parts still remain, proving its fine
architecture. He seems to have been very unscrupulous in his avidity
for relics; an anonymous MS. at Salerno, speaking of his fierceness
and audacity, says that, "having taken many bodies of saints from the
neighbourhood of Rome, he had them removed to Pavia."[43] The same old
chronicler does him the justice to say that "he built both churches
and monasteries which he very largely endowed."

Next followed Ratchis, who on his brother Astolfo's death came out of
the convent to which he had retired on abdicating in 749. His reign
was of the shortest; he soon went back to his convent, for Pope
Stephen III. wrote commanding him not to oppose the election of
Desiderius, who had been Duke of Friuli and was high in favour with
the Pope.

Desiderius was a liberal patron to the Comacine Guild, and built
monasteries, churches, and palaces. Of the first we may record the
convent for nuns near Milan, known as La Maggiore, or the Greater. Its
foundation by Desiderius is mentioned in a diploma dated A.D. 1002 in
favour of the Abbot of S. Ambrogio, who was in that year appointed
spiritual guardian to the nuns. At Brescia, of which town Desiderius
was a native, he built the monastery near Leno, known as the
_Monasterio Leonense_, and the still more famous one of Santa Giulia
for nuns, which he founded in 766. Desiderius and his wife Ansa
endowed this convent with landed property which spread over all the
Lombard kingdom. It was first called S. Salvatore, but when the
remains of Santa Giulia were brought from Corsica and placed here, it
was re-dedicated to her. Its first Abbess was Desiderius' own
daughter, Anselberga, who took the vows here. Says the old
chronicler--"its opulence and the number of holy virgins who have
lived within its walls render it one of the most illustrious convents
in Italy."

Signor Odorici has exemplified the church in its Lombard form to have
been quadrilateral, divided by two peristyles of eight columns each,
into a nave and two aisles (or three naves, as Italian architects
say). The arches are _a tutto sesto_ (semi-circular), and support
walls bordered with a simple string course. There was originally a
semi-circular apse or tribune, which was probably flanked by two
smaller ones. The white marble columns are, or were, of different
proportions, the capitals being sculptured, some in marble and some in

The mixture of Roman and Byzantine types in these is taken by
Ricci[45] to be a proof of its really dating from the time of
Desiderius, when the two styles got confused. Some capitals are
entirely of Byzantine design, others imitate the Corinthian. On one is
a mediæval sculpture of the martyrdom of Santa Giulia, on another is
the effigy of Queen Ansa. These two are doubtless Comacine work of the
eighth century.

Up on the slope of Monte Civate near Lake Annone, an hour's climb from
the village of Civate, is an ancient Lombard church dedicated to St.
Peter, which is almost intact. It is said to have been built as a
thank-offering by King Desiderius. His son Adelgiso was chasing a wild
boar on this mountain, and suddenly became blind. The father vowed
that if he recovered, a church to St. Peter should be built on the
spot. Adelgiso soon after recovered his eyesight, and Desiderius was
faithful to his oath. An ancient MS. said to be contemporary,[46]
minutely describes the ceremonies, when the king with all his royal
pageantry came up the mountain to lay the first stone. The plan is
similar to most other Lombard churches of its era. A great flight of
twenty-seven steps leads up to the portico, beneath which is the
principal door. This, however, does not lead immediately to the
church, but to a covered atrium, on the lateral walls of which are
sculptured in relief, hippogriffs with triple tails, _i.e._ threefold
mysteries. The entrance into the nave has two spiral columns,[47] an
unusual form for the Comacines of that era. There is a great
peculiarity in the position of the altar, which is a low table without
a reredos, standing on the tribune, to which five steps give access.
The _palio_ faces the choir, so that the priest when celebrating would
confront the people, and face the east.[48] It would be a question for
archæologists whether, considering the reverse orientalizing of
Lombard churches, in comparison to later ones, the front of the raised
tribune was not the usual position of their altars. This is the only
church which seems enough intact, to judge by. The altar was placed
beneath a canopy supported on four slight columns, whose sculptured
capitals show the symbolic animals of the four Evangelists. The canopy
has rude bas-reliefs of the Saviour and apostles, the crucifixion and
resurrection. There are remains of similar altars at Corneto Tarquinii
in the south, and at S. Piero in Grado near Pisa. The rest of the
building is entirely unadorned, excepting by some carved capitals of
columns in the crypt.

The church-building days of King Desiderius were now drawing to a
close. He thought he had strengthened his seat on the throne by
alliances with the all-powerful Charlemagne of France, whose brother
Carloman married Desiderius' daughter Gilberga; and some historians
assert that his son Adelchi espoused Gisla, the sister of Charlemagne.
Here we have the link connecting the Comacine Masters under the
Lombard rule, with Charlemagne, through whose patronage they spread
northward, developing the Gothic architecture. Politically the link
was not a strong one. In 770, Charlemagne having been menaced by Pope
Stephen III., the protector of Desiderius, revenged himself by causing
Carloman to repudiate Gilberga and send her back to her father with
her two sons. Carloman died in 771, and Pope Stephen III. did not live
long after him, for in 772 Charlemagne entered into a league with the
new Pope Adrian I. to dispossess Desiderius of his kingdom. This
unkind scheme was by Pope Adrian dignified by the name of a
"restitution to the Holy See."

The famous unequal fight at Pavia, between Desiderius and the
multitudinous hosts of France, is well known. Desiderius was
vanquished, and the Longobardic supremacy of two centuries was over.

Charlemagne vaunted himself in having released Italy from the
Longobardic yoke, but whether his own yoke were lighter is an open
question. In any case there was no "restitution to the Holy See." The
Lombard cities were no more given to the Pope by Charlemagne, than
they had been by Desiderius. On the contrary, he crowned himself _Rex
Francorum et Longobardorum_, and his son Pepin inherited the same

With him begins the next era in the development of Comacine art.


[20] _Antiq. Long. Mil._ vol. i.; _Dissertationi_, p. 17.

[21] Their daughter Gundeberg had a similar life; she married first
Ariold, and then Rotharis.

[22] Symonds, _Renaissance of Art, Fine Arts_, chap. ii.

[23] _Annali d'Italia_, tom. iv. pp. 38, 39.

[24] The first Roman Basilica was constructed in 231 B.C., by Marcus
Portius Cato, and was called the Basilica Portia. Marcus Fulvis
Nobilior built one, called the Fulvia, in 179 B.C.; Titus Sempronius,
169 B.C. Then followed a long line of these religio-judicial
buildings, up to the Basilica Julia of Augustus, 29 B.C., and ending
with the Ulpian Basilica of Trajan, A.D. 100.--Ricci, _Arch. Ital._
chap. ii.

[25] _Dell' Architettura in Italia_, vol. i. p. 174.

[26] A document, dated 739, in the archives of Monte Amiata, speaks of
a certain Maestro Comacino, named Rodpert, who sold to Opportuno for
30 gold solidi, his property at Toscanella (then a Longobardic
territory), consisting of a house and vineyard, a cloister, cistern,
land, etc.

[27] Cattaneo, _L' Architettura in Italia_, p. 46.

[28] Gundiberga ... intra ticinensem Civitatem in honorem Beati
Joannis Baptistae construxit.--_Paul. Diac._ lib. iv. cap. 4. This
must not be confounded with the Baptistery which was built by Bishop
Damiano in the same century.

[29] Several of the Lombard towers in Rome have this peculiar

[30] _Antichità Romantiche d'Italia_, da Difendente e Giuseppe Sacchi,
p. 70, _et seq._

[31] Felice quoque meæ sorori ejus tres annulos transmisi due cum
jacintis, et unum cum albula.--Gregor. _Epist. ad Teod._ lib. xiv.

[32] Paulus Diaconus, _Sto. Longo._ lib. iv. cap. 20.

[33] _Ibid._ iv. 21.

[34] Ricci, _Architettura d'Italia_, Vol. I. ch. viii. p. 221.

[35] _Paul Diac._ Lib. V. ch. xxxiv.

[36] _Antiq. Long. Milanesi_, Tom. I. Dissertation i. p. 46.

[37] There is a very good instance of this in the Baptistery at
Florence, which was also a ceremonial church.

[38] This was said to have been built by Agilulf, 591-615, and rebuilt
by Luitprand. It was again restored in 1152, when Pope Innocent II.
reconsecrated it.

[39] In the fifteenth century the fine mausoleum, known as the Arco di
S. Agostino, was erected over them by a later Comacine Master, Bonino
da Campiglione. In the eighteenth century the church, having fallen
into disuse, was turned into a hay store for the army, and the Arco
was, in 1786, moved into the modern church of Gesù, where it remained
till placed in the cathedral, where it now is.

[40] _Études sur l'histoire de l'art_, vol. ii. p. 157. Paris, 1864.

[41] Paulus Diaconus Warnefridi, _Chron. de gestis Langobardorum_,
Lib. V. cap. iii.

[42] _Antiq. Long. Mil._ Tom. I. Dissertation i. p. 68.

[43] "Prese molti corpi de' santi dai contorni di Roma, fatti poi
trasportare a Pavia."

[44] It seems probable that the sandstone capitals alone belonged to
the first eighth-century church, and the marble ones to the
eleventh-century restoration. There is now a modern church built over
the old crypt.

[45] _Dell' Architettura in Italia_, viii. 257.

[46] _See_ Sacchi, _Antichità Romantiche d'Italia_, p. 98.

[47] Ricci (_Dell' Architettura_, etc.) tells us the spiral column was
very anciently used in Asia, and that Rome did not adopt it till
Hadrian's return from the East. Under the later Cæsars it became
usual, but it fell into disuse in the rest of Italy. The Byzantines
used it in some buildings, and in these two early Longobardic
imitations of the East, we have a curious masonic link with the
ancient traditions of Solomon's Temple, which Josephus tells us was
adorned with spiral columns. It may be that they were old Roman
columns carried up the mountain from some ruin, but I should rather
take them as one of the first instances of the use of the spiral
column by the Comacines, a form to which they were devoted in later
times. There are endless instances of spiral colonnettes on the
façades of Romanesque churches of the thirteenth and fourteenth

[48] I speak of the time when Signor Difendente Sacchi visited the
church in 1828, before writing his work.



Ecclesiastical as was the work of the guild, the Comacine of Lombard
times was nevertheless a fine civil architect. He worked as willingly
for the prince in palace-building and for the country in
fortification, as for the Church in building monasteries and
cathedrals. Indeed war of all sorts bore such a large proportion in
the life of the Middle Ages that the fortress was of more importance
than the home.

In civil architecture the _Magistri Comacini_ of the seventh and
eighth centuries followed much the same style as in their
ecclesiastical buildings, of course adapting it to its different uses.
In the Lombard palace we find on the upper floor the usual
double-light windows, with the two round arches and dividing column
enclosed in a larger arch of masonry.

We also find the inevitable Lombard cornice beneath the roof. In civil
buildings, instead of a complete gallery with colonnettes, this
becomes a row of brackets with carvings in the corbel heads. The
windows of the lower floor are square orifices barred with iron, for
defence in warlike times. The walls are either of the solid brickwork
_opus romanum_, or the great smoothly hewn stones of the _opus
gallicum_. In Lombardy there are more of the former, as clay for
bricks is easily attainable. In Tuscany and southward the buildings
are more frequently of stone. The Florentine Bargello, though
later, offers a very fine specimen of this work, in the older portions
of wall, where the smooth-cut stones fit solidly together. If the
building required an inner courtyard it was of the same Lombard style
as their churches--showing the round arch, and the convex capital,
often sculptured.


   _See page 61._]

The municipal palace only came in with the Communes after 1100. In
Longobardic times, the only buildings that had any pretensions to
architecture were the palaces of the dukes or kings. Luitprand's
palace in Milan, which fell into disuse after the tenth century, is as
graphically described by old chroniclers and in legal documents in the
archives of St. Ambrose, as Theodolinda's at Monza had been by Paulus

Before the days of the Communes, when the Brolio or Broletta, and the
Palazzo Pubblico were as yet unknown, the palace of the ruling prince
was the hall of justice, the nearest Basilica being the public
meeting-place. King Luitprand's palace was styled in his time _Curtis
ducati_. In Charlemagne's reign it was _Curti domum Imperatoris_; in
other parchments _Curtis Mediolanensis_. Across the front ran an open
gallery, called _Laubia_,[49] formed, as were the galleries of the
Comacine churches, of a row of arches on colonnettes. Here the
_placiti_ were held, and sentences pronounced, as in the regal and
imperial public buildings, the populace being assembled in the street
below. The _ringhiera_ of the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence served the
same purpose in Communal times.

The Loggia, which is such a feature in all old Italian houses, is the
natural descendant of the _Laubia_. In its private aspect, as part of
a citizen's house, the Loggia was the place where the master of the
house received his friends.

An ancient MS. by Landolfo tells us that the space occupied by
Luitprand's palace was not very wide. It extended from the monastery
of St. Ambrose to the church of St. Protasius ad Monacos (now no
more), and the road leading to it was known as _Strada de Civite

That King Desiderius also employed the Masonic guild in civil as well
as ecclesiastical architecture seems implied by the tradition of his
palace at S. Gemignano. Certain it is that a solid mediæval building
with decidedly Lombard windows and Lombard arches under the
machicolations, exists at S. Gemignano, but whether it was really
built by and for Desiderius, I leave wiser antiquaries to judge. The
style is that of the times.

As a rule, Lombard houses had small rooms. This seems to have applied
even to royal and public buildings, for, as mentioned above, all
public meetings had to be held in a church, or in its ante-portal.
When Desiderius convoked a Diet at Pavia, each prince or bishop was
assigned a house which had a church or oratory near, in which he could
meet his committee.

The different methods and processes of house-building are very plainly
enumerated in the laws of Luitprand, of which we have given the
headings on a previous page. It would seem that since the reign of
Agilulf, the Masters of the Guild had become overbearing, and by
Luitprand's time required to have special legislation to limit their
prices. Luitprand's code of laws regulated the strength of the
external walls of a building, in regard to the different height,
construction, and material.

Art. 160 speaks of two different constructions, the Roman mode, and
the Gallic style. It begins--"Similiter romanense si fecerit, sic
repotet sicut gallica opera." (Roman work shall be accounted of equal
value to Gallic work.) This distinction of terms has caused great
argumentation among commentators. Prof. Merzario[50] says that "two
national terms cannot apply to any small distinction of masonry," and
he takes them to mean the Roman style with the round arch, in which
most Lombard churches are built, and the Gothic with the pointed
arches. As, however, Charlemagne's church, the father of the Gothic,
was not yet built in Luitprand's time, we should be more inclined to
take the opinion of Marchese Ricci and Troya, who interpret the phrase
_opus gallicum_ to mean the style which they say was introduced into
Ravenna by Theodoric and his Goths, and which they brought from Gaul.
It was the most solid style imaginable, seemingly a remnant of
Cyclopean building; if so it was not Gallic at all, but came from the
Pelasgi through the Etruscans, and so was a natural sequence of
Italian architecture; the Etruscans having taught the Romans. It
consisted of hewn stones of large size and perfect fitness, still
further strengthened with cement. "Mirum opus manu gothica, et quadris
lapidibus," it was said of the builders of S. Oveno at Rouen. If this
definition be admitted, then the other term _opus romanum_ would mean
building with flat bricks, which was equally practised by the
Comacines, especially in Lombardy.

Luitprand's laws speak of the _asse_, _tavolati_,[51] _scindule_
(Longobardic term) by which the houses were internally divided, and of
a cheap species of house-building called by the Gauls _pisè_, probably
from the same root as _pigiato_ (pressed together). According to that
method, the walls were composed of masses of earth pressed, and then
bound together so as to form a solid mass. The same method is still
used in Africa and Spain, and in Italy by the peasants in the
subalpine regions near Alessandria (Piedmont).

In Clause II., _De Muro_, where they use the term _si arcum volserit_,
it cannot refer to vaulted roofs, which were then unknown, but to the
slight arch of the window or door in the thickness of the wall, often
only a sloping off of stones. The roofs were supported on wooden
beams, and the laws determine the size and value of these, according
to whether they are _scapitozzati_ or _capitozzati_, _i.e._ hewn or
carved. They also decide the quality of the wood for beams or
planking, and the cost of roofing in regard to the number of wooden
slabs or tiles required in a raised roof.

Thus any Longobard who wished to build himself a house, might consult
the laws of Luitprand, and count the cost beforehand.

These laws also decide the strength of the defensive walls of a city.
Law IV. gives the trade price of this sort of work; for those built
_in massa_, or _per maxa_, the builder shall for every sixty feet be
paid in _solidum unum_ (one soldo, a gold coin). Ricci adds--"This
_per maxa_ is the same construction which the Greeks and Romans styled
_implectans_, _i.e._ conglomerate."

They had several kinds of walls, some of brick, others with a base of
stone (_nella base a sassi_), like the walls of Milan, which have
lasted till now.

Luitprand assigns different money for different kinds of work. Thus at
times the _Magistri Comacini_ were paid _solidum unum_ for every foot
of wall, sometimes _solidum vestitum_, a distinction of soldi which
has puzzled commentators very much; some opining that _vestitum_
refers to a coin on which the emperor is represented as regally clad,
and others that it means a copper coin plated (_vestito_) with gold.

We find also that terra-cotta vases were much used as ornamentation in
building. This style was, as we have said, called "a cacabus." Broken
vases were adopted in the foundation of large buildings and houses;
others, which probably were not perfect enough for household use, were
built into the walls and put as ornaments between the arches. The
tower of S. Giovanni e Paolo at Rome and the church of S. Eustorgio at
Milan are good instances of this style.

   (_From a photograph by Alinari._)   _page 65._]

Here we have another link with ancient Rome. Promis instances an
amphora found in the walls of an imperial edifice in Aosta. At the
fountain of Egeria, near the Porta Tiburtina in Rome, the walls are
full of amphoræ and oil-jars.

On the whole these Masonic laws show that the principal scope of the
Longobardic architecture was to make strong and lasting buildings.

The building of convents were frequent commissions of the Comacines,
and in these, as in their churches, they had a set form. A solid
framework of walls either of hewn stone, in the Gallic manner, or of
brick in the Roman style, and a few beams and planks, were the simple
elements of which a convent was composed.

But of course a Comacine could not make any building without his
slight columns and arches, and here he disposed of them in his
cloister. This, too, was a heritage from classic Rome, recalling the
atrium. A Lombard or Romanesque cloister is a delight. Here you have a
square court more or less spacious, containing a picturesque well in
the centre, surrounded by a colonnade of small columns generally in
couples, resting on a low wall and supporting a roof on a row of
arches. It was usually on the sunny cloister that the Comacine poured
out his imagination; here are fancifully-sculptured capitals, pillars
of every variety of form and style, grotesque gargoyles between the
arches, and often delicate tracery above them. Hope[52] instances as
the more rude and early style of Lombard cloisters, those of San
Lorenzo at Rome and Santa Sabina and San Stefano at Bologna, and as
models of the more splendid style those of S. John Lateran, which are
resplendent with porphyry, serpentine, and gold enamel, inlaid in the
marble; and those of S. Zeno of Verona of every tint of marble which
the Euganean hills can afford. For the interior arrangements of a
Longobardic monastery we will take Padre Ricci's account of the first
plan of Monte Cassino which Petronax the Brescian engaged the
Comacines to build. "It had on the ground floor a _Sala_ anciently
called _caminata_, because the fire-place was there. The upper floor
was divided by wooden partitions into cells and other rooms requisite
in a cenobitic life. Although at that time houses only had one floor,
monasteries generally had two. Monte Cassino boasted of three storeys,
the upper one being only used for keeping fodder and stores. As the
chief aim was solidity of building, great attention was paid to the
proportionate thickness of the outer walls. The laws determined the
adequate value of these, which were generally of the thickness of five
feet. The inner walls were of planks or _assi_--'si cum axe

This mode of separation by wooden partitions is still usual in
convents, though it has gone out of use in houses. The convents of S.
Marco and S. Salvi at Florence both show this style of division for
the cells. The windows were protected by _abietarii_ or _cancelli_
(gratings) made of wood.

A strong point in Lombard building was the fortress, which the
_Magistri_ were past masters in erecting. Their castles and forts and
city walls stand to this day solid and strong, with towers standing up
commandingly in all directions--all the mediæval cities bristled with
them; the tower was, in fact, a weapon of war. On these, too, they set
their seal--the pillared Lombard window becoming larger and more airy
as the tower rises into the air, and the crowning cornice of bracketed
or pillared archlets.[53]

Their towers seem to have been of two forms, ecclesiastic and civil.
The ecclesiastical bell-tower, square with a straight unbroken line,
with neither buttress nor projection till the summit, where the
bracket-supported arches expand like a flower. Sometimes each storey
had a string course, with smaller arches beneath it, as in the tower
at Prato. The windows, too, as we have said, had a fixed rule; they
are smaller below, and grow larger and more airy as they ascend. You
go up from a mere orifice on the first floor to a one-arched window on
the second, a two-arched on the third, to a three or even four-arched
one near the summit.

The characteristics of civil towers at this time were their solidity
as a means of defence, and their height as a means of vigilance; they
appear to be chiefly circular, offering no corners, but a curved
surface from which missiles could easily glance off. The windows were
narrow outside, expanding wider within. If there were a double-light
window, it would be on the very high storeys, out of arrow aim. Nearly
all the ancient fortresses have round towers, but I know of very few
church towers that are so, except the one at Classe near Ravenna.

Before the thirteenth century, neither brackets nor projecting
cornices were used, and the tower rose in a single straight line from
base to battlement, so that projectiles fell straight down. It was
later that architects discovered the value of the projecting
_baluardo_. As to battlements, these too came from the antique;
Babylon and Nineveh show proofs of them, and Homer speaks of the
battlemented towers of Asia and Greece. Muratori[54] derives the
Italian term _merlo_, from _mirare_ (to take aim), the battlements
being made for the shelter of the archers, and their convenience in
shooting. When fire-arms came in, the need of battlemented towers

The principal Longobardic military towers remaining to our day, are,
the tower of the ruined fortress of Baradello, which dominates the
road to Camerlata, and the towers, now mutilated, in the wall of Como,
one of which, erected on arches, forms the gate of the city towards

The ninth-century sculptures on the altar at S. Ambrogio prove that
the Longobards had towers above their city gates. The author of the
_Ant. Longob. Milanesi_ (Dissert. iii. p. 193) says that the ancient
gates of Milan, before the enlargement of the walls, were of this
construction with towers over them. They were furnished with heavy
wooden doors covered with iron, which were suspended on chains, and
slid down in grooves in the wall, thus completely closing the
entrance--a portcullis, in fact. Livy, in his twenty-seventh book,
describes the gates of Rome as being of the same construction; some
existing examples at Rome, Tivoli, and Pompeii prove the fact. A
famous gate in the time of the Longobards was the one chronicled by
Paulus Diaconus, which King Bertharis (671-686) caused the _Magistri_
to erect beside his palace in Pavia. It was named the Porta
Palatinense, and was, says Paulus Diaconus, an admirable work (_opera
mirifica_). Some antique documents quoted by Passano,[55] prove that
this gateway was furnished with bronze gates.[56]

Some writers think that the battlemented fortress came from the East,
because ancient specimens of it are found there. In reading an Italian
translation of Procopius, _Degli edifici di Giustiniano Imperatore_, I
was struck by the many slight expressions which seem to prove that
Justinian brought his fortress-builders into Byzantium from Italy.
Procopius says that Justinian made a new style of fortress with towers
all round the walls; with stairs in the towers, and galleries
(_baluards_) round them with holes in them to throw down stones, and
that it was called _Pirgo castello_, because in the Latin tongue,
fortresses are styled _castelli_. Now this description is precisely
that of an Italian fortress, such as the Comacines knew how to build,
and built for centuries all over Italy. If it came from the East in
ancient times, why was it specified by Procopius as a new style
there?--and if its origin were Eastern, why had they no name for it,
but had to take the Latin one?

The Bishop of Salisbury, in a letter in the _Salisbury Diocesan
Gazette_ (May 1898), speaks of an inscription of the twelfth century,
preserved in the museum at Jaffa, which is in memory of Magister
Filipus, who came over with the King of England (Richard), and who had
built a portion of the wall "from gate to gate": evidently Magister
Filipus from the English Masonic Lodge, fraternized and worked with
his brethren of the Roman and Eastern Lodges.

Again, on p. 21, Procopius speaks of a town or village now known as
Eufratisia, but which was once called Comagene, because there were
Romans as well as Persians living there. Romans, of course, meant
subjects of the Italian Empire, but the name Comagene is certainly
suggestive of those Italians being the Comacine builders who made the
castles. Then Procopius's description of the rebuilding of the church
of Santa Sofia is, to say the least of it, interesting to a student of
Lombard architecture. The passage translated runs thus--"The church
then (Sta Sofia) being thus burned, was, at that time, entirely
ruined. But Justinian, a long while after, rebuilt it in such a form
that if any one in older times could have foreseen it, he would have
prayed God that the old church might be completely destroyed, so that
it may be rebuilt as it now is. Therefore the Emperor sent to call
artificers _and masters_, as many as there were in all the universal
world. And Anthemius Trallianus, the head architect, was a great
machinist, learned in all kinds of machinery, not only that of his
own time, but in all that the ancients knew, and he had the power to
regulate and organize perfectly the working of all things necessary to
building, and to the ordering and executing of his own designs and
inventions. And Isidore, another Milesian, was also a master of
machinery. The church then, was so marvellously made that it was a
beautiful thing to see; it seems supernatural to those who behold it
with their own eyes, and incredible to those who only hear of it,
because it is so high that it seems to touch the sky.... The face of
the church looks towards the rising sun, but where the secret offices
to God are performed, it is built in this manner. It is a half-round
edifice which those of this profession call _Hemiciclo_, which is to
say half a circle ... and in this there are columns planted beneath
its floor." Here we have a decided Basilica with raised tribune and
semi-circular apse; both the form and nomenclature seem to have been
imported as a new thing from Italy. "The golden dome appears suspended
from heaven, so light are the columns supporting it that it seems to
be in the air.... One can never arrive at understanding how it was
built (_apprendere l'arteficio_), but one goes away astonished at
one's inability to enough admire such a work."

Does not this seem an argument for the universality of the Masonic
Brotherhood, even in Byzantine days? Here are certainly Italian
artists, Italian basilican forms, and Italian nomenclature, among the
Greeks working at Sta Sofia. And here too are Lombard galleries and
windows with an Eastern touch added. Which way did the influence come?
Was this the origin of that characteristic Eastern mark of the Lombard
style in Italy?--or was it an importation from Italy to Byzantium,
where Procopius at least seems duly astonished by it? It is a question
for experts to solve. There is much for the archæologist to do yet in
finding the true pedigree of architecture.


[49] Probably the root of our word Lobby.

[50] _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. i. p. 50.

[51] The words _asse_ and _tavole_ for planks of wood still survive in

[52] Hope, _Storia dell' Architettura_, chap. xxv. p. 179, 180.

[53] See the illustration of the church of S. Frediano, on page 48,
for a perfect specimen of Lombard tower.

[54] _Ant. med. aevi_, Tom. I. chap. ii. p. 158.

[55] _De' real palazzi_, ch. i. par. 4.

[56] That the Longobards were either metal-workers themselves, or had
Italian artificers in their pay, we know from the specimens preserved
in Monza Cathedral, and especially the crown of Agilulf, of which the
_Antichità Longobardica Milanesi_ gives an illustration.



The Comacine Masters were distinctly sculptor-architects, and their
ornamentation was an essential part of their buildings. Yet, to them,
sculpture was by no means mere ornament. It was not a mere breaking up
of a plain surface, as a beautifying effect; nor a setting of statues
and niches for symmetry. It was an eloquent part of a primitive
language of religion and art. The very smallest tracery had a meaning;
every leaf, every rudely carved animal spoke in mystic language of
some great truth in religion. But it was a language as yet
artistically unformed, because the mediæval man had more articles of
creed than he could express in words, and his hand like his mind was
as yet unpractised.

Thus it came that, as we have said, the Comacine Masters were much
given to symbolism.

The old Italian writers class this symbolism under two heads--the
_ermetica_ (hermeneutic?), which they define as symbolism of form or
number; and _orfica_ (orphic), that of figures or representations.
Under the first head would fall the symbolical plan of their churches
to which we have referred; the form of the windows, which were
double-lighted, and emblematized the two lights of the law and the
gospel; the rounded apse, emblem of the head of Christ; the threefold
nave shadowing forth the Trinity; the octagonal form of the
baptisteries, which St. Ambrose[57] says was emblematical of the
mystic number 8, etc.

Under the head of _orphic_ would come all those mystic signs of circle
and triangle; of sacred monograms, and the mysterious Solomon's
knot;--that intricate and endless variety of the single unbroken line
of unity,--emblem of the manifold ways of the power of the one God who
has neither beginning nor end. It would also include all the curious
possible and impossible animals that abound in the Comacine work of
earlier Longobardic times; all the emblematic figures of angels and
saints; and the figurative Bible stories of the later Masters.

It has been said by Ruskin that the queer monsters sculptured on the
early Longobard churches, such as Sant' Agostino at Milan, San Fedele
at Como, and San Michele at Pavia, were the savage imaginings of the
lately civilized Longobards, as seen through the medium of the
sculptors employed by them. This is, however, proved not to be the
case; animal symbolism was in those days an outward sign of
Christianity, which, in a time when there was no literature, was to
the unlettered masses a mystical religion represented to their minds
in signs and parables. Christ Himself used this parabolic style of
teaching. And it was even more than that,--it was a sign of an older
Bible lore among the Hebrews, and other ancient peoples. As in many
early Christian ceremonies in the West (_i.e._ in Europe) we can trace
the remains of the old Latin paganism, so in the East we may trace
signs of the older Hebrew faith.

Speaking of the Longobardic mixtures of labyrinths, chimeræ, dragons,
lions, and a hundred other things, which at first sight do not seem to
be connected with Christianity, Marchese Ricci asks--"If these queer
mixtures were only the effect of the architects' caprice, whence came
the first impulse to such caprice? Not from classic Rome certainly.
Not from the Goths and Longobards, because they being barbarians had
to employ Italian artists."[58] The theory propounded by Pietro
Selvatico, in an article in the _Rivista Europea_, is suggestive of a
reply to this question. He supposes that the Byzantines originally
took their symbolism from the Hebrews, and from the traditions of
Solomon's Temple, which are also shared by the Phœnicians;[59] and
that this animal symbolism changed its character in the East, owing to
the restrictions imposed by the Emperor Leo and his successors, but
that in freer Italy it still flourished. It is difficult to say
whether the Comacines took their ornamentation direct from the
Byzantines at Ravenna in the early centuries after Christ, or whether
they got it by longer tradition, from that same Eastern source from
which the Byzantines took theirs. It is true that Como had more than
one bishop who was a Greek,[60] and that when it fell under the
government of the Patriarch of Aquileja, the Comacines were employed
by him in Venice, Grado, and Torcello, etc., where they would have
seen a good deal of Byzantine work; but their earliest employment at
Torcello was in the seventh century, and we have seen them using their
chisels for Theodolinda long before that time.

The Byzantine ornamentation became conventional after 726 A.D., when
the Emperor Leo III. (the Isaurian) promulgated his iconoclastic edict
in the Eastern Empire. Some Greeks had begun to feel that, under the
appearance of Christianity, they were only keeping up the ancient
paganism. They were taunted by the Hebrews and Mussulmen, who,
inspired by the Koran, had a great hatred of images. This sect found
a champion in Leo III., who had lived much among the Arabs, and shared
their prejudices against idols. He convoked a council, prohibited
images, and proscribed all reverence and use of them either public or
private. A figure of the Christ over his own palace fell the first
victim to his iconoclastic destruction. Several Greeks who would not
bow to this decree fled to Italy, and put themselves under the
protection of Pope Gregory II. From this time the eastern Byzantine
architectural ornamentation was entirely confined to linear and
geometric design, and vegetable forms. In pure Byzantine work one sees
no dragons or fighting monsters, only conventional doves and scrolls.
The sculptors took to imitating woven stuffs, and Oriental patterns in
marble, and to twining their capitals with conventional leaves, but
the life had gone out of their work; it was all set and precise, but

The Italian architect, not being under the power of the edict of Leo,
continued to carve his mythic animals, his symbolic birds and fishes,
and even tried his hand at the first rude revival of the human figure
in sculpture. His figures were disproportionate and mediæval in
form,--what could one expect from a man of the Middle Ages just
reawakening to the conception of art?--but they were full of fire and
life. Their mystic beasts were horrible as any nightmare could
conceive them; they were indeed conceived in the darkness of that
night of superstition, ignorance, and fierce strife. Their angels were
grotesque, not from want of imagination, but from want of models of
form and proportion; their men are full of all kinds of expression,
with their heads too large and their limbs too short; but their
attitudes are lively, their faces grotesquely keen.

As a proof of this distinctive style, compare the Byzantine altar of
S. Ambrogio at Milan, here illustrated, with the Comacine pulpit of
the same church. (_See_ page 88.)

   _page 74._]

So many students of architecture roughly class as Byzantine every kind
of intricate decorative work of the centuries before the Renaissance;
but I think that, excepting in some instances in Venice and Ravenna
(and not all the work of the era there), most of the Italian
ornamental sculpture is Comacine, and not Byzantine. Certainly if you
see a sly-faced lamb, or a placid lion with rolling eyes, peering out
from beneath the abacus of a column, or a perky bird lifting up its
claw over a vase, with an extremely lively expression of eagerness,
that work is not Byzantine, though it may be surrounded and mixed with
the most intricate possible weaving of lines or foliage. However, I
leave the question of derivation of style to wiser students than
myself, and return to the Comacine Masters and their symbolism.

It seems impossible that the Comacine sculptures on S. Michele could
have come through the Byzantine. It is true they show rude and
unskilled technical execution, but they have intense spirit, belief,
life, and spontaneity. The _Magistri_ must have got their
ornamentation as they did their architecture from an older
source,--and a traditional one. It came down like their Freemasonry
from ancient Eastern builders through pagan Rome, and ages of mystic
religions such as Gnostic and other deistic forms, till it became
incorporated in Christianity. "We might," says Sacchi,[61] "define
Christian symbolism as the representation of mysteries and religious
truths by means of forms, cyphers, and determinate images." (_La
rappresentazione di dogmi, misteri e verità religiose, per mezzo di
forme, cifre ed immagini determinate._)

An older and more authoritative testimony is given by Dionysius the
Areopagite, the associate of St. Paul, by whom he was consecrated. In
his _De angelica seu celesti Hierarchia, Epistola ad Timotheum Ephæsiæ
civitatis episcopum_, he writes--"It is necessary to teach the mind
as to the spiritual hierarchies, by means of material figures and
formal compositions, so that by comparing the most sacred forms in our
minds, we may raise before us the spiritual and unpictured beings and
similitudes on high." As he says elsewhere, "ascendere per formas

Again he writes to Titus--"Only by means of occult and difficult
enigmas, is it given to the fathers of science to show forth mystic
and divine truths."[62] In the second epistle to Timotheus, St.
Dionysius writes--"We must raise ourselves from ascetic facts by means
of imaginative forms, and we should not marvel as do the unknowing, if
for this end are chosen many-footed beings, or creatures with many
heads; if we figure bovine images, or lions, or eagles with curved
beaks; flying creatures with three-fold wings, celestial irradiations,
wheel-like forms, vario-tinted horses, the armed Sagittarius, and
every kind of sacred and formal symbol which has come down to us by
tradition." St. Nilus, too, writes to Olimpiodorus--"You ask me if I
think it an honourable thing that you erect temples to the memory of
martyrs as well as to that of the Redeemer--those martyrs who are
certainly among the saints, and whose pains and sufferings have borne
witness to the gospel. You also ask whether it would be wise to
decorate the walls on the right and left with animal figures, so that
we may see hares (conies) and goats, and every kind of beast flying
away, while men and dogs follow them up. Whether it would be well to
represent fish and fishermen throwing the line or the net; whether on
the calcareous stone shall be well-carved effigies of all kinds of
animals, and ornamental friezes and representations of birds, beasts,
and serpents of divers generations?" St. Nilus says later that he
quite agrees with all these things; so if the Fathers of the Church
respected them, we need not heed Mr. Ruskin's diatribes.

St. Nilus lived in the time of John XVI., 985-996, nearly 900 years
after Dionysius, but this extract from his letter shows that Christian
symbolism had not altered in all those centuries, and the church he
describes is no more or less than a Comacine church of that era. The
chase is figured forth on the façades of S. Michele and S. Stefano at
Pavia, and S. Zeno at Verona. The huntsman and his dogs are generally
used as emblems of the faithful Christian driving out heresies.[63]
The fisherman symbolizes the priesthood, fishing for souls out of the
ocean of sin. There is a beautiful example of this myth in the fresco
of the ship (the ark of the Church) on the roof of the Spanish chapel
at Santa Maria Novella in Florence, where the fisherman is casting his
line from the bank.

Seen through the medium of these early lights, we no longer look on
the façade of S. Michele as Ruskin does, as a sign of savage atrocity,
but every line of the time-worn sculptured friezes stands out as full
of meaning as an Egyptian hieroglyphic, to one who can interpret it.
On the angle to the left we have the army of the Church militant,
figured as armed soldiers, whose horses trample some quadrupeds
underfoot: symbol--the vanquishing of sins. Above this a frieze of
four animals--first, a lion; second, too much broken to be
decipherable, but from the context it is probably a man-headed
creature; third, a bull; fourth, a winged creature. Here we have the
four beasts of the Apocalypse,--emblems of the Evangelists. "And the
first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the
third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a
flying eagle" (Rev. iv. 7). The connection between the two friezes is
evident. First, the Church militant clad in the whole armour of God,
and the second emblematizing the shield of the Gospel.

In the next compartment of the façade, that on the left of the door,
we have the chase of a deer and other animals flying from fierce dogs,
which we have explained above; over this a frieze of vine-leaves.
Here, again, the connection of thought is apparent. The vine figures
Christ, the only true refuge from heresy.

High up on each side of this left door is a peacock with an olive-leaf
in its claw-symbol of the Church bringing peace. In the centre between
these is the bishop with his robes and pastoral staff--the visible
dispenser of peace in the Church. On the fourth frieze, which is above
the door, we go into the mythic animals: here is a hippogriff with the
three-fold tail; a woman with six breasts, carrying two pine-cones;
she is in a long robe with large sleeves, and veiled as an Egyptian;
two sphinxes, on each of which a man rides, and whispers in their
ears; a dragon with wings and bird's feet, on its neck a child; a
priest with vase of holy water and an asperge, who is blessing some
people; a man (Zohak) between two winged serpents which bite his head;
a sphinx to whom a man presents a little branch of a tree; two
hippogriffs, seated opposite each other with a man in the centre who
places their claws on his head. A marvellous frieze indeed, and one
which in spite of St. Dionysius speaks as much of Eastern traditions
long before Christ, as of Christianity itself. The many-breasted woman
with the pine-cones is the ancient mother goddess, Isis, Cybele, or
Cupra, according to the age and clime; here I take it the old image is
turned to new uses, and she figures Eve, the primitive mother. The
two sphinxes are obscure, but they would seem to emblematize man
wresting the secrets of knowledge of good and evil from the mystery of
the unknown, as when Adam and Eve ate the apple; the dragon, always
emblem of sin or the devil, ridden by a child, is a fine symbol of the
child Christ, the seed of Eve, who should overcome sin. Then comes the
purification by benediction, as shadowing Abel's accepted sacrifice,
and the serpent-fanged remorse of Cain, as shown in Zohak.

     "There where the narrowing chasm
       Rose loftier in the hill
     Stood Zohak, wretched man, condemned to keep
       His cave of punishment.
       His was the frequent scream
     Which when far off the prowling jackal heard,
       He howled in terror back.
     For from his shoulders grew
       Two snakes of monster size
       Which ever at his head
       Aimed their rapacious teeth.
     He, in eternal conflict, oft would seize
       Their swelling necks, and in his giant grasp
       Bruise them, and rend their flesh with bloody nails
       And howl for agony,
     Feeling the pangs he gave, for of himself
       Co-sentient and inseparable parts
       The snaky torturers grew."[64]

     SOUTHEY, _Thalaba the Destroyer_.

Next the man giving the branch to the sphinx must shadow the
reconciliation of man with God, and the hippogriffs the final
redemption of man. The hippogriff is a combination of horse and eagle.
The horse, as St. Dionysius says, was symbol of evangelical
resignation and submission; if white, it sheds divine light. The
eagle, he tells us, is a high and regal bird, potent, keen, sober and
agile; the winged horse consequently stands for man's upward flight
to heaven through submission to God. In the fifth frieze, the
Christian virtues of strength, fortitude, sobriety, and obedience are
symbolized by bulls and horses.

   _Page 77, note._]

Around the door are sculptures of the same kind of emblems with vines
entwining--which teach that all manly strength must be used for

In the central portion are more friezes, all symbolizing the struggle
between good and evil; the war between angels and demons; between
man's earthly nature and his heavenly soul.

Here are men fighting dragons, and struggling with serpents; winged
angels riding on heavenly horses; and over the door the grand central
idea, St. Michael triumphant over the dragon-serpent, the favourite
hero and great example of those days.

On the other side of the church we seem to get the symbolism of the
New Testament. Here, mixed still with the dragons and hippogriffs of
the time, we can see the Virgin with the Divine Child at her breast.

On the capitals of the north door, round the corner, are the entirely
Christian emblems of the man, the lamb, a winged eagle, and two doves
pecking at a vase, in which are heavenly flowers. In the lunette,
Christ is giving to St. Paul on one side a roll of parchment, and on
the other hand entrusting the keys to St. Peter; under it are the
words: _Ordino Rex istos super omnia Regna Magistros_.

The capitals in the church are carved with similar subjects; one has
the emblems of the evangelists; another Adam and Eve with the tree of
knowledge on one side, and a figure offering a lamb on the other. On
one are griffins at the corners, and Longobards with long vests,
beard, and long hair, crouching between them; on another, a virgin
martyr bearing the palm. The fourth column on the left has a curious
scene of a man dying, and an angel and a demon fighting for his
soul, which has come out of him in the form of a nude child. Two
pilasters show the sacrifice of Isaac, and Daniel in the lions' den.

   _page 80._]

So we see, that mediæval as he was at that time, the Comacine Master
of the seventh and eighth centuries, even though his execution were
low, had a high meaning in his work. As to the rudeness of the
handling, there is this to be said. We see the work after more than a
thousand years' exposure to the atmosphere, and the sculptures are not
in durable marble, but in sandstone, which has a habit of getting its
edges decayed, so we may fairly suppose the cutting looked clearer
when the ornamentations were fresh. The form of both animals and men
is, however, and naturally always was, entirely mediæval, which seems
synonymous with clumsy.

The use of marble ceased for some centuries with the fall of the Roman
Empire. Theodosius had made a law, forbidding any one below the rank
of a senator to erect a building of marble, or valuable _macigna_;
thus the Christian buildings after the fifth century were generally of
humble sandstone; and this continued till the time of St. Nilus, who
tells his friend that "in _arenaria_ he may effigy every kind of
animal, which will be a delightful spectacle" (_dilettoso spettacolo
di veduta_). It was a stone peculiarly adapted to building, as it was
easily cut, and yielded to all the imaginations of the sculptor with
very little labour. I have given an especially lengthy description of
the façade of S. Michele, because it embodies all the special marks of
the ornamentation of the Comacine under the Longobardic era. The
church of S. Fedele at Como is another instance; here, too, the
capitals of the columns, and the holy water vase, which is held up by
a dragon, are full of orphic symbolism. The left door has an
architrave with obtuse angles bearing a chimerical figure, half human,
half serpent--the gnostic symbol of Wisdom. Serpents and dragons
entwine on the lintels, and emblematize the Church's power to

In studying the scrolls and geometrical decoration of the Comacines,
one immediately perceives that the _intreccio_, or interlaced work, is
one of their special marks. I think it would be difficult to find any
church or sacred edifice, or even altar of the Comacine work under the
Longobards, which is not signed, as it were, by some curious
interlaced knot or meander, formed of a single tortuous line.

As far as I can find from my own observations, there is this
difference between the Byzantine and Comacine mazes; the Byzantine
worked for effect, to get a surface well covered. His knots and
scrolls are beautifully finished and clearly cut with geometrical
precision, but the line is not continuous; it is a pretty pattern
repeated over and over, but has no suggestion of meaning.

The Comacine, on the contrary, believed in his mystic knot; to him it
was, as I have said, a sign of the inscrutable and infinite ways of
God, whose nature is unity. The traditional name of these interlacings
among Italians is "Solomon's knot."

I have seen a tiny ancient Lombard church, in the mountains of the
Apuan Alps, built before the tenth century, of large blocks of stone,
fitted and dovetailed into each other with a precision almost
Etruscan. High up in the northern wall is a single carved stone some
three feet long, representing a rude interlaced knot.[65] We asked a
peasant what it was.

"Oh, it's an ancient _girigogolo_," said he, by which I presume he
meant hieroglyphic.

On going to a higher fount and asking the priest, we got the
information that it was a "Solomon's knot," and that such
_intrecci_ were found on nearly all the very ancient churches. He
supposed it had some meaning--and thought it expressed eternity, as
the knots had no end and no beginning. The Italian philologist,
Sebastian Ciampi, gives these interlacings a very ancient origin. "We
may observe," he writes, "in the sculpture of the so-called barbarous
ages on capitals, or carved stones, that they used to engrave serpents
interlaced with curious convolutions. On the wall too they sculptured
that labyrinth of line which is believed to be the Gordian knot, and
other similar ornaments to which Italians give the generic name of
_meandri_. I do not think that all these representations were merely
adapted for ornament, but that they had some mystic meaning. I am not
prepared to say whether our forefathers received such emblems from the
Northern people who so frequently peregrinated in Italy, or from the
Asiatic countries. This is certain, the use of such ornamentation is
extremely antique, and we find it adopted by the Persians, and see it
in Turkish money, and carpets, and other works of Oriental art."[66]
Ciampi goes on to find the root of these emblems, both the Runic knot
and the Comacine _intreccio_, in the Cabirus of the ancient Orientals.
It is possible that the ancient serpent worship of the Druids and
other Northern nations, was in some way descended from the same root.
In any case they were transmitted to the Longobardic Comacines through
the early Christian _Collegia_ of Rome, as we see by the _plutei_ in
San Clemente, S. Agnese, etc., and by the beautiful single-cord
interweavings on the door of a chapel in S. Prassede.

   _See page 83._]

   _See page 84._]

There is a marvellous knot sculptured on a marble panel of the ninth
century from S. Ambrogio Milan, which Cattaneo has illustrated.[67]
The whole square is filled with complicated interweavings of a single
strand, forming intricate loops and circles, the spaces between which
are filled with the Christian emblems, the rose, the lily, and the
heart. Another _pluteus_, originally from San Marco dei Precipazi at
Venice, but now over the altar at S. Giacomo, is dated 829 A.D., and
is covered with what seems at first sight a geometric pattern of
circles and diamonds, but if analyzed will be found a single strand
interwoven in the most mysterious and beautiful manner. It seems that
the parapet of the tribune in all these early Basilicas was the place
chosen especially by the Roman architect of the third and fourth
centuries, and the Comacine of the eighth and ninth, to set their
secret and mysterious signs upon, and to mark their belief in God as
showing infinity in unity.

It is very curious to notice in the churches which the guild restored
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when their tenets had
altered, and their sign changed, how they themselves removed these old
stones, but yet being careful not to destroy them, they turned them
and sculptured them again on the other side. In the excavations or
restorations in Rome many of the _intrecci_ have come to light at the
back of panels of Comatesque pulpits, recarved into altar frontals, or
used as paving-stones before the altar.

Some of the earlier and less intricate forms of knots may be seen in
the church of S. Abbondio at Como, which was built in the fifth
century and again rebuilt in the ninth. Some excavations in the last
century revealed the foundations of the fifth-century church, and also
brought to light a number of sculptured stones which had been turned
face downwards to form the pavement. We give illustrations from two of
these which have the Comacine signs plainly written on them, and show
even in this early and simple form the reverence for the line of
unity. Cattaneo thinks they may have formed the front of the gallery
above the nave in the eighth-century building.

In the museum of Verona is a precious fragment of Comacine work dating
from Luitprand's time. It was a _ciborium_ which Magister Ursus was
commissioned to make for the church of S. Giorgio di Valpolicella. It
is especially valuable as the first dated piece of sculpture of the
Longobardic era, and the first signed specimen of Comacine interlaced
work. The columns which remain support a round arch, covered with
sculptured _intrecci_. As it stands now the two halves of the arch do
not match, so it must be conjectured that the _ciborium_ had four
columns, and that the halves of the arch were originally on different
sides of the erection. The _intrecci_ are beautiful and varied,
displaying the unbroken continuity of the curved line which marks the
Comacine work of the eighth to the twelfth centuries. The capitals are
curious in form and not at all classical. Beneath the capitals of the
two columns are the following inscriptions in rough letters and dog

The date of Bishop Dominic's death coincides with Luitprand's
accession to the throne, so we may safely say Magister Ursus worked in
712. _Ursus Magister fecit_ is also engraved in the same style on an
ancient altar recently discovered in the abbey church of Ferentillo
near Spoleto. It is known that Luitprand went to Spoleto in 739, and
installed Hilderic in the Dukedom. In any case this inscription is of
priceless value to our argument that the Comacine Guild which worked
for the Lombard kings was really the same guild that built the latter
Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals and palaces. Here we get the exact
organization which becomes so familiar to us in the later lodges whose
archives are kept, Ursus or Orso proves his right to the title of
Magister by having disciples under him. The work is done in the time
of "Our Lord Luitprand and our Father the Bishop," who are the
presidents of the lodge, just as in later lodges the more influential
citizen or body of citizens are presidents of the _Opera_. Then there
is Refol, the _Gastaldo_ (Grand Master). The very same term is kept up
in the Lombard lodges till the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,
when the head of the Venetian _laborerium_ is styled the _Gastaldo_
instead of _capo maestro_ as in Tuscany; there is even the notary to
the guild, the unworthy scribe Gondelmus.

The work is so far inferior to the _ciborium_ at Valpolicella, that it
would seem to be, as Cattaneo remarks, by an earlier hand. The
ornamentation is not a finished sculpture, but only rudely cut into
the surface of the stone, like a first sketch. Possibly the
remuneration offered by the employer was not liberal enough to
encourage Orso to put any elaborate work into the altar, or he might
have blocked out the work, and left it unfinished either by reason of
death, or absence.

Another famous work of that time was one which Luitprand himself
caused to be sculptured by Magister Giovanni, of the Comacine Guild.
It was the covering for the tomb of S. Cumianus in the monastery of
Bobbio. It will be remembered that Agilulf and Theodolinda gave
shelter to the Irish Saint Columbanus, and assisted him to found the
convent of Bobbio. One of the monks there, another Irishman, named
Cumianus, was afterwards canonized, and Luitprand built his tomb. We
are told it was covered with precious marbles, which would seem to
indicate something in the style which the Cosmati afterwards made so

The tomb of Theodata at Pavia is a fine specimen of
Comacine-Longobardic sculpture. It is now to be seen in the cortile of
the Palazzo Malaspina with some other old sarcophagi. This has been
called a Byzantine work, but the extreme vitality and expression in
the hippogriffs and the Solomon's knots which sign it, mark the work
as Comacine; besides, we are told by the most early authors that the
Longobards never employed Greek artists. There is the usual mixture of
Christianity and Mediævalism in the sculptures on the top of the tomb.
Winged griffins with serpent tails prance on each side of a vine, from
which serpents' heads look out. Fishes are in the corner, and an
interlaced border, whose spaces are filled with grapes and mystic
circles, frames, as it were, the design. The side is entirely
Christian; and if the peacocks which drink out of a vase with a cross
in it, were less lively, it might almost pass for a Byzantine design;
but the Comacine Magister has set his mark even here, in his knots
with neither end nor beginning, his concentric circles, and roses of
Sharon; and has told us in his mystic language that Theodata was a
Christian, and though tempted, clung to the cross. Theodata, a noble
Roman dame, was one of the ladies of honour to Ermelind, King
Cunibert's Anglo-Saxon wife.[69]

One day Ermelind incautiously described the exquisite beauty of this
lady, whom she had seen in the bath, and greatly inflamed his
imagination. He brutally ruined the lovely Theodata, and afterwards
shut her up in a monastery, probably that of St. Agatha, which his
father had built. This took place in A.D. 720. The beautiful tomb was
but a poor atonement for the coarse cruelty which had spoiled her

The pulpit in S. Ambrogio at Milan is a really fine specimen of
sixth-century work. It is supported on ten columns. Here is the true
Comacine variety of columns: they are all sizes and all shapes; some
round, some hexagonal; some longer, some shorter; the difference in
height being made up by the capitals and pedestals being more or less
high. One, which is peculiarly short, and whose capital is carved in
complicated Solomon's knots, has a lion placed as abacus. This is the
earliest instance I know of, of the use of the lion of Judah, in
connection with the pillar (Christ). Here the lion rests on the column
and supports the arches, instead of being the root of the pillar as it
became in the later Romanesque style. The arches are surrounded with
intricate scrolls and interlaced work; some of them clearly copied
from Byzantine designs. The spaces between the arches are enriched
with allegorical subjects. In one, the emblems of the apostles; in
another, a choir of angels, very mediæval and heavy-headed; in
another, a winged archangel. At the corner is a man in Lombard dress,
holding two animals, one in each hand. It is peculiarly suggestive of
the Etruscan deity with the two leopards, which is so frequently seen
on the black Chiusi vases, and confirms more than ever, the tendency
in mediæval Christians to cling to ancient pagan forms, giving them a
new Christian significance. The frieze above the arches which forms
the base of the marble panels of the Ambone, is peculiarly Comacine.
Here are all the mystic animals, representing the powers of
evil;--dragons, wolves, etc., bound together in a knotted scroll of
one continuous vine-branch, here and there training into foliage.
Reading the ornamentation by the light of mediæval symbolism, the
whole thing gives us lessons appropriate to a pulpit. It tells us that
Christ the pillar of the Church, descended from David the lion of
Judah, is the foundation of all Gospel; that angels and saints sing
the glory of God; and that Christ the vine can bind and subdue the
powers of evil. The fine early Christian tomb beneath the pulpit is
not necessarily connected with it. It has been called the tomb of
Stilicho, with how much reason I am not prepared to say. If so it must
date from the early part of the fifth century, as it was on October 8,
405, that Stilicho marched up to Fiesole from Florence to his victory
over Radagaisus the Goth. The Florentines had but just been converted
to Christianity at that time. The sculpture, though Christian in
subject, has many signs of debased Roman style mingled with much of
the mediæval.

   (_From a photograph by Brogi._)   _See Page 88._]

There is a similar pulpit at Toscanella, in the church of S. Maria
Maggiore, a three-naved Lombard church with the choir facing east. The
pulpit, which is of the square form used before A.D. 1000, is
supported on four columns, and has sculptured parapets and arches, on
which are various interlaced designs of marvellous intricacy.[70]


[57] Sancti Ambrosii, _Comment. in S. Luc._ Lib. V. cap. vi.

[58] _Dell' Architettura in Italia_, cap. viii. p. 245.

[59] Would this at all explain the Runic knot in Ireland, and in
Scandinavia, where there was very early intercourse with the

[60] Amantius, the fourth Bishop of Como, was translated from the See
of Thessalonica to that of Como.

[61] _Antichità Romantiche d'Italia_, Vol. I. capo iv. p. 138.

[62] "Sophiæ patres, per quædam occulta et audacia enigmata,
manifestant divinam, et misticam et inviam immundis veritatum."--Sancti
Dionisii, _de Theologia Simbolica_, Epistola I. ad Titum Pontificem.

[63] A very pretty later instance of this myth is in the fresco of the
Spanish chapel in Santa Maria Novella, Florence, where the Dominican
monks are figured as the "dogs of the Lord" (_domini canes_--mediæval
pun), fighting and overwhelming the heretical _paterini_ whom the
monks literally fought with in the streets of Florence. The dog is
always used as emblem of fidelity--the hare treated alone is generally
used as an emblem of unchastity; when in the chase, as unfaithfulness.

[64] I am informed, by a literary Hindoo lady, that Zohak, so
graphically described by Southey as the emblem of remorse, is from an
ancient Persian legend, and not of Indian origin.

[65] The stone is evidently a remnant of the ancient architrave of the
façade, where it has been replaced by two modern slabs, and the arch
above filled in with masonry.

[66] Anglicized from Bigeri Thorlacii et Sebastiani Ciampi. "_De
septentrionalium gentium antiquitatibus, et literis runicis._"--Epistolæ

[67] _Architettura d'Italia_, Fig. 119, p. 201.

[68] Cattaneo, _L' Architettura in Italia_, p. 79.

[69] Ermelind was from England, which suggests a very early
intercourse between the Lombards and Britain.

[70] Cattaneo, _L' Architettura in Italia_, p. 167.




     1. |  805  | Magister Natalis         | A Lombard, employed at Lucca
        |       |                          |  to build a church and make
        |       |                          |  a canal.
                |                          |
     2. |  900? | M. Johannis de Menazio   | Built the church of S. Giacomo
        |       |  (and many other Masters |  at Pontida.
        |       |      from Como)          |
        |       |                          |
     3. |   "   | A "famous Magister"      | Worked at S. Zeno at Verona,
        |       |      from Como (name not |  and built S. Zeno at Pontida.
        |       |      given)              |
        |       |                          |
     4. |   "   | M. Adami                 | Sculptured the capitals in the
        |       |                          |  atrium of S. Ambrogio at
        |       |                          |  Milan.

We may safely say that Charlemagne, who was more a warrior than a man
of æsthetic tastes, had no influence whatever on Italian architecture;
neither the form nor the symbolism was changed by him. The Italians
were always conservative, and clung to old traditions. The Roman
basilica, and not the Eastern mosque, still continued to be the plan
of the Italian church. Ricci asserts that by the end of the eighth
century all imitation of Oriental architecture had disappeared from
Italian churches. It was not the same, however, with the
ornamentations, in which the frozen Byzantine forms became vitalized
under hands less technically skilful, but more natural.

   _See page 83._]

   _See page 84._]

Charlemagne did not even alter the Longobardic laws, and he
certainly did not interfere with the freedom and privileges of the
Comacines or _Liberi Muratori_. In fact he ratified the Lombard code
(the laws of Rotharis and Luitprand), only adding a few others which
are known as _Capitolari_.

They do not, however, refer specially to our _Magistri_, but to
jurisprudence in general. The older laws still held good for the
Comacines, and they went on building their Basilican churches, which
were at the same time classic in form, solid in style, and fanciful in
decoration--a curious and characteristic mixture. But Charlemagne
certainly patronized the Comacines, and not only employed them
himself, but sent them to restore Roman churches for Pope Adrian, and
to fortify Florence.

The early Carlovingian churches in Italy have so much analogy with the
Longobardic ones, that it is very difficult to distinguish precisely
to which era certain churches belong.

Rumhor instances the Florentine Basilica of S. Scheraggio, which was
much used as a meeting-place for civil councils in the early days of
the Republic. This is usually said to have been a Carlovingian church;
but either it was pure Lombard, as the barbarous name _Scheraggio_
implies, or else Charlemagne employed the Lombard architects.[71]
Padre Richa, who saw the ruins of it, gives a design of the church,
which was the usual Lombard form, three naves, the central one wide,
and an apse to each. The columns and capitals were from some Roman

The architecture was entirely similar to that of S. Paolo in ripa
d'Arno, close to Pisa, which has also been styled Carlovingian. The
chronicle of the monk Marco, written in 1287, preserved in the
archives of Vallombrosa, shows that although the guide-books date S.
Scheraggio as twelfth-century architecture because a papal bull of
that time refers to the name, it belonged to the Vallombrosian monks
long before, having been given to them by Countess Beatrice in
1073,[72] and was probably founded in the ninth century.

We must not omit to mention the most interesting of Comacine churches,
that of San Donato in Polenta, where Dante worshipped, and near which
Paolo and Francesca lived. It was built in the eighth century, and is
mentioned in a document of 976. It is of the usual triple-apsed form.
The columns have diverse capitals, some square, some diminished,
ornamented with foliage and interlaced work; some have grotesque
figures, and animals in low relief, with a rude technique. Here are
men like monkeys, hippogriffs, sea monsters, etc. It has been
graphically described in Sapphic verse by Carducci, as follows--

     To that gaunt Byzantine there crucified,
     Whose hollow eyes gaze from his livid face,
     The faithful pray for blessings on their Lord,[73]
                             And glory to Rome.

     From every capital dread shapes obtrude
     And memories bring of ancient sculpturing hands
     Whose works show visions weird, and horrors from
                             The dreadful North.

     The eastern gleam from pallid altar lamps
     Falls on degenerate inhuman forms,
     Writhing around in many-coiled embrace
                             Like things of Hell.

     Rude monsters spew above the kneeling flock.
     Behind the very font, crouching beast
     Red-haired and horned, and demonlike
                             Doth gaze and grin.

The original runs thus--

     Al bizantino crocefisso, atroce
     Ne gli occhi bianchi livida magrezza,
     Chieser mercè de l'alta stirpe e de la
                     Gloria di Roma.

     Da i capitelli orride forme intruse
     A le memorie di scapelli argivi,
     Sogni efferati e spasimi del bieco

     Imbestiati degeneratamente
     Ne l'Oriente, al guizzo de le fioca
     Lampade, in turpi abbracciamenti attorti,
                     Zolfo ed inferno.

     Goffi sputavan su la prosternata
     Gregge: di dietro al battistero un fulvo
     Picciol cornuto diavolo guardava
                     E subsannava.

This church, so full of poetic and historic interest, was lately going
to be destroyed, but the priest, Don Luigi Zattini, appealed to the
Inspector of Monuments for the province of Forli, who had recourse to
the _Deputazione Storica Romagnola_. Efforts were made to save it, and
instead of being pulled down, it is now only to be restored, which may
be as fatal. The castle of Guido da Polenta, husband of Francesca da
Rimini and brother of Paolo, is now ruined, but a cypress on a plateau
of the grounds is still called Francesca's cypress.

It was about this era that the Comacines began their many emigrations,
and spread throughout Italy. The church-building Longobards, being
subjugated themselves, had no longer the power to employ them, so this
large guild had to look further afield for their work.

Hitherto they seem to have been almost exclusively employed in the
Lombard kingdom and its dukedoms, except the few who went to England
and Germany in the seventh century. But Charlemagne had a wider rule
in Italy; and good architecture was needed in other parts. Some
documents quoted by Professor Merzario[74] not only prove these
travelling days of the _Magistri_, but connect them with many of the
finest and most interesting churches in Central and South Italy. One
is a deed of gift for the weekly distribution of bread and wine to the
poor at Lucca in 805. It begins--"Ego Natalis, homo transpadanus,
magister casarius, Christo auxiliante, ædificavi Ecclesiam in honori
Dei et Mariæ et B. Petri Apostoli, intra hanc civitatem"--"I, Natalis,
a man from beyond the Pò, being a master builder, by Christ's help
have constructed within this city, a church in honour of God, of Mary,
and of the blessed apostle Peter."[75] Here we see the Comacine Master
settled as leading architect in Lucca, far from his native land beyond
the Pò, and so flourishing that he can dispense large charities. He
seems to have done some public works too; there was a canal called the
Fossa Natale, which ran through the city, and had a bridge over it.
There must have been others of the guild in Lucca, before Natalis,
working at the churches of S. Frediano and S. Michele.

The latter building was not long prior to the era of Magister Natalis.
It was founded in 764 by the Lombard Teutprandus or Iutprand, and his
wife Gumbranda. It coincides with S. Frediano in its plan of the Latin
cross. Here, however, we find no Roman capitals, as in S. Frediano,
but the twelve columns which sustain the arches of the nave are of
rough white marble, from the neighbouring mountains of Carrara. They
are of the same size upward, not narrowed at the top. The capitals are
of somewhat composite order, with a leaning to Orientalism. The eight
columns in the nave have simple arches _a sesto intero_
(semi-circular) springing from them; the four which support the
tribune are heightened by piers of a Gothic form, flanked by
pilasters, which raise the arch over the central nave. This seems to
be the first instance of an attempt to render the sanctuary of the
high altar more grand and majestic than the rest of the building. The
façade is of quite a different epoch, and has nothing to do with the
interior. It was the work of Guidectus in 1188, who also built the
cathedral of Lucca.

The windows show the same divergence of style. In S. Frediano they are
large and classical, in S. Michele narrow and Neo-Gothic.

The other document is less decisive, but has its significance. An
ancient mediæval _Memoriale_, in the monastery of Pontida,[76] has the
following entry--"Guglielmo de Longhi di Adraria built the church of
San Giacomo di Pontida, employing Magister Johanne de Menazio et
multis aliis de episcopatu comensi." This was finished in 1301, and
was consequently later than the building of S. Zeno at Pontida, of
which another MS. in the same monastery relates a fact, which the
chronicler says happened _avanti il mille_ (before the year 1000).

"A master very famous in the art of building, who came 'de regione
juxta lacum cumanum' (from the region about Lake Como), met with
robbers at Cisano, as he returned from Verona to his native place. The
which Master being struck with terror, recommended himself, calling
with all his heart on the blessed Zeno, and made a vow that if the
saint brought him safe and sound out of that deadly peril, he would
build a church in his honour. As soon as he had spoken the words, the
horse on which he was mounted took fright and galloped away, so that
the robbers could no more harm him. Thus he escaped safely with all
his belongings ('potè scampare sano con tutte le sue cose'), and
returning the following year with his workmen, he began the building
of the church of S. Zeno at Valle Ponzia (now Pontida), the people of
the neighbourhood lending him aid, both in money and in labour."

We may be excused for jumping at conclusions if we opine that as he
was returning from Verona after a long sojourn, he had been employed
there. Probably it was at the church of S. Zeno; particularly as he
felt he had a special claim on the help of that saint.

There is very little left of the first church of S. Zeno at Verona
(which was rebuilt entirely in the twelfth century), except the
curious mausoleum in the crypt, which is supposed to be King Pepin's
tomb. Our Comacine who escaped the brigands may possibly have made
that, as the era (before the year 1000) corresponds. Or he might have
been working at the church which Bishop Lothaire, aided by Bertrada,
mother of Charlemagne, built 780 A.D., and dedicated to S. Maria
Matricolare, and which the Bishop Ratoldo (802-840) chose as the
cathedral. Of this, too, little remains now, it having been rebuilt in
the twelfth century, but some indications of the old building were
found in the excavations made in 1884. At the depth of two metres, in
the Lombard cloister adjoining it, a mosaic pavement was discovered
with a design of foliage, animals, and inscriptions. There was also a
fallen column, which they were able to stand on its own base with its
capital. Cattaneo[77] thinks that these are the remains of Lothaire's
church, as the capital of the column is undoubtedly of the eighth
century. It has a rigid abacus, and the form is rudely Corinthian,
with solid straight leaves curled back, instead of the usual acanthus.
The same style is seen in S. Salvatore of Brescia, and S. Maria in
Cosmedin in Rome, both Comacine works.

  [Illustration: COMACINE CAPITALS.
   _See page 96._]

Another Carlovingian church in Verona is that of S. Lorenzo, said to
have been founded by Pepin. Some interesting bits of its primitive
architecture remain, and are precious relics. There is, for instance,
a little spiral stairway in the wall, which led to different divisions
of the women's gallery.[78]

At this era a change in the form of windows may be observed; they were
narrowed and heightened, a first step towards the Gothic form.

In Carlovingian times the Comacines worked much in Rome. Cattaneo[79]
says that there exist letters from Pope Adrian I. to Charlemagne,
begging him to send architects (_Magistri_) from the north of Italy,
to execute some works in Rome. Now these _Magistri_ could be no other
than the Comacine Guild of Lombardy, who with the Longobards had
lately become subjects of Charlemagne, and were without doubt the
finest builders in Italy, if not monopolists of the art. The buildings
which they designed and erected in Rome at that time were the churches
of S. Maria in Cosmedin, S. Lorenzo in Lucina, S. Saba on Mount
Aventine, and the residence of the Patriarch near S. John Lateran. The
door of a chapel in S. Prassede with its Comacine _intrecci_ is a
standing proof of their work there in the ninth century.

Anastasius, the librarian, gives an account of the rebuilding of the
church of S. Maria in Cosmedin.[80] He says that Adrian found it
absolutely beneath a pile of ruins (_sub ruinis positam_) of a former
temple to Ceres and Proserpine, which literally hung over it. As this
mass of ruin prevented the enlargement of the new church, it was
entirely demolished "by fire, and by the labours of the people." The
space being cleared, a new and spacious Basilica was erected "a
fundamentis tres absides, in ea constituens."

The writer mentions this form with three apses as being new in Rome.
We have, however, seen that in the north of Italy the Comacines had
been, for the past century or two, building Basilican churches on
precisely this plan. In fact the three round apses had become one of
the special marks of their churches. Cattaneo argues that the form
came from the East, as some of the Syrian churches of the fifth
century and the great Basilica of St. Simeon Stylites at Kaiat Senian,
erected in 500, have signs of the same conformation. Whether these
were of absolutely Oriental origin, or the result of some early
emigration of the _liberi muratori_, archæologists must judge. The two
rows of columns which divide the nave from the aisles, have solid
piers of masonry interposed between each three columns; these are
elongated above the colonnade to support the roof, and strengthen the
upper gallery.[81]

It is evident that the Comacines availed themselves of old material in
this work; the columns are of all species and styles, some fluted,
some smooth, some with antique Corinthian capitals, others of Comacine
work. One is of the same form as those we have described in S. Maria
Matricolare at Verona, with solid volutes, placed perpendicularly,
instead of the graceful acanthus. The same capital is seen in S.
Agnese fuori le mura.

There is in S. Maria in Cosmedin a very interesting fragment of the
Comacine decoration of the time when Adrian I. was the patron of the
guild. It is a bit of cornice, formed of a little colonnade of round
arches; beneath it an inscription in a curious early style, the
letters all sizes and shapes. It runs--


I have seen another fragment during the recent restorations. A fine
_intreccio_ on a marble slab in one of the pulpits, which had been
reversed and inlaid on the other side in thirteenth-century mosaic.

The church of S. Saba on Mount Aventine, which was also built under
Adrian I., has every mark of Comacine work, especially in the mediæval
and unclassic form of capitals. Probably the supply of ancient
capitals fell short after the building of the other churches, and the
builders had to supply them with their own chisels. They made a rude
imitation of the Ionic form, as far from the classic grace of the
original, as their plain hard volutes were from the elegance of the

A better artist seems to have been placed by the Comacine Guild in S.
Lorenzo in Lucina, which was contemporary to this. The capitals of the
same form are much more clearly and firmly cut, and in a better style
of ornamentation. Here too are the Comacine lions, now built into the
wall under the square lintels of the door. Of the Comacine work in the
house of the Patriarch near S. John Lateran, _i.e._ the papal
residence of those times, not much remains to show the hand of the
Comacines, except the sculptures on the well in the cloister, the
parapet of which is adorned with two zones of reliefs, divided by an
interlaced band. The under one consists of alternate crosses and rude
palms, the upper is a row of round arches, adorned with upstanding
volutes, like vine-tendrils; under one arch is a dove with grapes in
his beak, and in the other a cross. There are also two sculptured
stones in the same cloister, one showing various interlaced patterns,
the other a cross formed by weavings of the continued line, enriched
in the groundwork of foliage.

One of the most interesting churches of the Carlovingian era is that
of San Pietro in Grado near Pisa. In the Middle Ages this was a great
shrine for pilgrimages, being, it is said, built on the spot on which
St. Peter first set foot in Italy. (_Gradus_--a step.) Legend
(supported by the assertion of a certain Archbishop Visconti, who
preached in Pisa in the thirteenth century) says that the Apostle
Peter was driven ashore at that spot, and having made an altar he
began to baptize--giving his disciples commands to build a church
there. What the first church was like is not known; the present one
was built between 600 and 800 A.D., and was decorated with frescoes
before A.D. 1000. There is a great similarity in structure between
this building and that of S. Apollinare in Ravenna; they are both of
similar brick masonry, and three-apsed, and the aisles are in about
the same proportion to the greater height of the nave. The proportions
of the short round arches on the tall classic columns of the interior
are extremely similar, as is the scheme of ornamentation, with the
difference that at Ravenna the medium is mosaic, and at S. Pietro a
Grado it is fresco. The line of Bishops in the spring of the arches in
Ravenna is reproduced at Grado by a line of Popes in medallions,
ending with Leo III., 795, which would probably mark the era of the
foundation of the church.[82]

San Pietro, however, has one very great peculiarity. It has no façade,
but is built with the usual Lombard three apses at one end, and a
single semi-circular tribune at the other. The only door is at the
side. The priest, who is naturally proud of his church, and learned in
its history, told us that by this peculiar form the builders wished to
represent a ship, and pointing out the great square pilasters that
break the line of columns at the fourth arch from the west, he showed
how the raised poop of a vessel was expressed by the greater height
and width of the four arches at the west end. Certainly the narrowing
effect being towards the chancel instead of the reverse, is most

I was not, however, convinced by his symbolism, and realizing the
greater proportions of the west end, where three arches with fluted
columns stretched across a tribune, now turned into an organ-loft, I
felt convinced that the present form was not the original. Either the
ancient altar once stood at the west end, and the church, like so many
Lombard ones, had formerly faced the opposite way; or else the
semi-circular tribune, which seems to be of later work, has been added
by restorers, to cover in the three arches of the ancient façade.
That, in fact, the large solid pilasters in the nave marked the
ancient wall of the interior, and the four arches on the other side of
them formed the narthex. To support the first theory, is the fact that
the altar called St. Peter's altar stands now isolated in that west
end, and the canopy in the form of an ancient Lombard _ciborium_
stands on four columns above it, carved in stone in very early style.
The opposite theory of the narthex having been at that end, may on its
side be confirmed by one of the frescoes, the last but two on the
south wall, which represents the church itself as it was prior to A.D.
1000. Here the artist has, with a curious mediæval disregard of
perspective and possibility, represented both ends of the church in
one view, and here we see plainly the three apses with their marble
perpendicular ribs on one side, and the façade of large arches with a
row of smaller ones across the building above them on the other. I
leave the question of this puzzling west tribune to wiser judges than
myself, and trust that some new Fergusson, Hope, or Street may some
day discover the truth.

The columns of the nave are all of antique marble, the ruins of a
Roman temple to Ceres at Pisa; some are of cipollino, others Oriental
granite, one is of fluted white Greek marble. The capitals are mostly
antique and classical, though a few show the hand of the early
Comacine in their straight upstanding volutes. The ingenuity of the
_Magistri_ in making use of old material is shown in the various
devices by which these columns are adapted. Where they are too short
the base is raised on two pedestals; where too small for the massive
pillar, a wide abacus is placed on the top to support the arch. One of
the columns which support the altar is made long enough by a base made
of an antique carved capital reversed beneath it. We have a distinct
sign of the Comacines in a stone let into the wall near the door, and
which evidently formed part of the ancient architrave. It is carved in
an intricate interlaced knot. I shall speak in the chapter on Comacine
painting, of the frescoes in the nave, which are unique of their kind,
and of deep interest to the Art historian.

   _page 101._]

These churches of the Carlovingian era in Italy cannot be documentally
proved to have been at all connected with Charlemagne himself, except
that he sent the _Magistri Comacini_ to Rome, at Pope Adrian's
request. The same cannot be said of the great church of
Aix-la-Chapelle, with which his name must be for ever united, but
which is certainly not entirely unconnected with this Lombard
Guild. Where history gives no precise information, and where
authors, ancient and modern, fail to fix the precise era of this
important work, it is of course impossible to say who was the
architect. We can only judge by the style, and by inferences drawn
from previous works of the same style. First, as to the few facts we
are able to gain: Eginbertus, a Lombard, the biographer of
Charlemagne, in his _De vita et gestis Caroli Magni_, Capit. 26, tells
us that Charlemagne "built the Basilica of Aquisgrana of wonderful
beauty, and adorned it with much gold, silver lamps, and with gates
and doors of bronze. For this construction, not being able elsewhere
to find columns and marble, he provided that they should be brought
from Rome and Ravenna." This fact, of a want of proper material in
France, would seem to imply that skilled workmen to build in stone
must have been imported with the material. It is difficult, or indeed
impossible, to prove that French workmen were equal to the occasion,
by showing other contemporary works in France. Any churches they may
have then had, have long since perished, for at that date they were
usually built of wood; another argument that France could not have
supplied accomplished architects in stone.

Some say the church was designed by Ansige, Abbot of Fontanelles,
others give the credit to Eginhard, or Eginbertus, as his Lombard name
is spelt; but as he does not claim it for himself in his
writing,--indeed, we see from the above extract that he speaks quite
impersonally of it,--there is certainly no documentary evidence to
prove this assertion. Speaking dispassionately, it would be strange
for a man of letters, private secretary to a great king, to suddenly
develop into a full-fledged architect. It is much more likely that as
he was a Lombard, he was interested in employing the builders whom all
his countrymen had employed for centuries. D'Agincourt, who had a good
deal of _amour propre_, and would, if he could, always give glory to
France, says (vol. i. p. 27, 139)--"It is natural to believe that the
Italian architects whom Charlemagne had brought with him, designed the
buildings they made for him in France, on the lines of those of their
own country." Dartein, in his _Lombard Architecture_, writes of
it--"If we inspect the octagonal half-domes which terminate the centre
of the cross in S. Fedele at Como, we see that they reproduce the
rotunda of Aix-la-Chapelle. The form of the shafts, the outline of the
wall, and the disposition of the collateral vaults are alike in both
edifices. The similarity is so great as to prove imitation, especially
as other churches in the Rhone district remind one of churches in the
territory of Como." The fact of similitude is significant, but is it
not more likely that the imitation was the other way? S. Fedele, or S.
Eufemia as it was first called, was built in S. Abbondio's time, A.D.
440, before the era of the Longobards, and we are told is the only
church of that time which retains its original architecture,
especially in the rounded apse. The similarity would then go to prove
what has been an hypothesis, that Charlemagne really brought builders
as well as marble from Italy, and that the _Magistri Comacini_ were
those builders.

The church has also been compared to S. Vitale at Ravenna, but the
Comacines were accustomed to build circular churches, such as the
Rotunda at Brescia, and others. They were generally used as
baptisteries or mausoleums; in fact were ceremonial churches.

Aix-la-Chapelle was designed as the tomb of Charlemagne, and here the
builders mingled the rotunda of the ceremonial church with the
basilica for worship. The workmanship is much more rude than that of
S. Vitale, where Greek artists were employed. It is easy to
distinguish the parts added by the Comacines, from the classical and
Byzantine imported adornments furnished by the spoils of Rome and
Ravenna. The Italians were not left entirely free in their designs,
but had to conform to a more northern climate and different national
taste; the windows were narrowed and elongated, and the pitch of the
roof raised to a sharper angle. As Pliny had said to Mustio, his
Comacine architect, seven centuries before--"You Magistri always know
how to overcome difficulties of position," and Charlemagne's
architects, in an equal degree, studied both climate and position. The
further we go south or east the roofs have a tendency to flatten, the
further we go north they have a tendency to rise into sharper gables.
The cause is this, I take it--a climatic one. Where there is much rain
or snow, the sloping roof is a necessity; therefore this first
indication of pointed architecture, as adaptable to the northern
climate, makes Charlemagne's church an interesting link between the
Romano-Lombard and Gothic in the north: just as Romano-Lombard stands
between the classic and Romanesque in the south. If Ansige suggested
these modifications to the Italian builders, he had a wider office in
the history of art than he knew; for Aix-la-Chapelle became the root
from which the French and German so-called Gothic sprang; improved in
the first instance under the hands of the _Franchi-Muratori_, who in
the succeeding generations were called to work on churches in both
countries. After all, the first step was but a slight one, being more
a raising and narrowing of the round arch than the innovation of the
pointed one. It might stand better as a first indication of the
stilted Norman arch.

Of the civil architecture of the Carlovingian era we have very few
instances remaining. The Emperor Charlemagne built no especial palace
for himself, but used that of Luitprand at Milan, which in
Charlemagne's time was known as _Curtis domum imperatoris_. An old
chronicler tells us that he fortified Verona. He says--"In the time
when King Pepin was still young, the Huns or Avars invaded Italy. When
Charlemagne heard of their approach he caused Verona to be fortified,
and walls erected all round, with towers and moats; and with _pali
fissi_ fortified the city to its very foundations, leaving there his
son Pepin." Forty-eight towers rise from these walls, of which eight
are very high, the others well raised above the walls. These must have
been what the old writer quaintly called _pali fissi_.

A diploma of Ludovic II., dated 814, proves that the walls of Piacenza
also date from this era. It is in favour of his wife Analberg, giving
her permission to incorporate a part of the walls into a monastery. It
runs--"Of our own authority, we add to the monastery and give in
perpetuity, all the _steccato_, internal and external, of the said
wall of the city, from the foundations to the battlements, as much as
extends from Porta Milano to the next postern gate; and not only this,
but also the _macie_ (rubble) which is found round the walls and
ante-walls, and the same of the towers, gates, and posterns."

The use of hospices is much connected with Carlovingian times; they
came in when the Church ruled, and pilgrimages became the fashion. The
first hospices were in monasteries. In 752 S. Anselmo founded one for
pilgrims at Nonantola, in Agro Mutinense. The council of Aquisgrana
(Aix-la-Chapelle) made decrees as to the establishment of hospices,
and Charlemagne made laws on the subject, "ut in omni regno nostro,
neque pauper perigrinus hospitia denegare audeant." To the ordinary
fine for homicide, Pepin II. added sixty soldi more if the person
killed were a pilgrim. One who denied food and shelter to a pilgrim
was fined three soldi. These humane provisions, like all such, soon
became abused; so many non-religious people travelled on pilgrims'
privileges, that at the end of Charlemagne's reign it was found
necessary to provide real pilgrims with a _Tessera trattoria_ to
prove their authenticity.

Among the earliest hospices might be mentioned the leper hospital
founded in Classis near Ravenna in S. Apollinare's time, and one in
Rome, founded by the Roman lady Fabiola for destitute or abandoned
sick and poor. In 785 a certain Datheus, arch-priest at Milan, founded
an _exonodochio_ (home for destitute children), and Queen Amalasunta
built a foundling hospital at Ravenna, in the sixth century.
Charlemagne commanded that there should be a place in the peristyle of
the churches for the reception of foundlings. The Loggia del Bigallo,
though a later building, is a beautiful specimen of such a peristyle.


[71] In 1410, when the street was enlarged, it was half destroyed, and
the south aisle cut off. The last remains were in 1561 incorporated in
the Uffizi by Cosimo I., when the gallery was built. Some capitals may
be seen in the wall of the Palazzo Vecchio.

[72] See Marchese Ricci, _Dell' Architettura in Italia_, Vol. I. ch.
ix. pp. 302, 342.

[73] The family of Polenta, their feudal lords.

[74] _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. ch. ii. p. 77.

[75] This is probably the church of S. Pietro Somaldi, to which a
Lombard, or rather Italian Gothic, front was added in 1203. It was
founded by a Longobard named Somualdo in the eighth century, and
restored in 1199.

[76] A place between Lecco and Brescia.

[77] Cattaneo, _Architettura Italiana_, p. 175.

[78] There is a similar stairway in the church of S. Agnese fuori le
mura, at Rome, which though originally said to have been founded by
Constantine, is not of Greek form, but preserves a perfect Basilican
plan. It was enlarged by Pope Symmachus in the fifth century, and he,
it is known, employed Italian artists. The spiral stairway (_cochlea_)
is also mentioned at Hexham in England.

[79] _L' Architettura in Italia_, ch. iii. p. 143.

[80] Anastasii, _Bibliothecarii Vitæ Romanorum Pontificum_--in
Muratori, _Sculptores Rerum Italicum_, tom. iii.

[81] S. Prassede in Rome, which was standing in the time of Pope
Symmachus, when in 477 he held a synod there, has the same
peculiarity. The elongated piers are here placed between every two
columns, and are transverse, _i.e._ the greater width across the
church. Before this time the roofs were always formed of gable-shaped
frames of wood, erected on beams resting on the side walls, but Ricci
sees in this the first advance towards the arched roof. We may see the
next step in the old Lombard church at Tournus in France, where a
succession of arches are thrown across the nave from the piers.

[82] The tower, which is in a later Lombard style, was rebuilt two
centuries later.



After the Carlovingian dynasty had withdrawn from Italy, the country
had two or three centuries of troublous times, in which very few
people thought of church-building, and if the Comacine Masters found
work in their own land, it was more the building of castles and
strongholds in their most solid _opera gallica_, than the sculpturing
of saints or the rearing of gorgeous basilicæ.

After the Carlovingians came the House of Berengarius, which held the
Italian throne from 888 to the intervention of Otho I. of Germany in
951. During this time there was always a military fermentation going
on; Duke Guido of Spoleto fighting Berengarius; Arnolph and his son
Sventebald fighting Guido; the Hungarians overrunning and sacking
Italy on the north, where there were battles at Brenta, Garigliano,
Firenzuola, and bloodshed generally till the murder of Berengarius.

Nor were things more peaceful in the south. Between A.D. 924 and 950
the Saracens invaded Sicily, and having established themselves there,
assaulted Rome, and marched on towards the Alps.

In Central Italy the Dukes of Burgundy, Provence, and Bavaria were
found contesting with Lothaire for the succession. At length, in 951,
Otho came down from Germany and scattered them all, restoring
comparative peace for a time, though an arbitrary one; but it did not
last long.

Next came superstitious fears; the poor battered Italians, demoralized
by fierce human foes, succumbed entirely to the moral subjugator,
superstition. They were firmly persuaded that the year 1000 should be
the end of the world, and every activity, public and private, was
paralyzed. It was only after that era had passed, and found Italy
still existing, that new life began to stir in its inhabitants. Of
course, fighting still continued, but these were holy wars--the
Crusades, of which Urban II. preached the first in 1096. Then the art
of sculpturesque architecture, which is the handmaid of religious
enthusiasm, began to revive, and the Comacine Masters again had palmy

But they had not been entirely idle during these warlike times. Prof.
Merzario says[83]--

"In this darkness which extended over all Italy, only one small lamp
remained alight, making a bright spark in the vast Italian necropolis.
It was from the _Magistri Comacini_. Their respective names are
unknown, their individual works unspecialized, but the breath of their
spirit might be felt all through those centuries, and their name
collectively is legion. We may safely say that of all the works of art
between A.D. 800 and 1000, the greater and better part are due to that
brotherhood--always faithful and often secret--of the _Magistri
Comacini_. The authority and judgment of learned men justify the

Here Prof. Merzario quotes several of these _uomini dottissimi_.
First, Quatremal de Quincy, in his _Dictionary of Architecture_, who,
under the heading "Comacine," remarks that "to these men, who were
both designers and executors, architects, sculptors, and mosaicists,
may be attributed the renaissance of art, and its propagation in the
southern countries, where it marched with Christianity. Certain it is
that we owe it to them, that the heritage of antique ages was not
entirely lost, and it is only by their tradition and imitation that
the art of building was kept alive, producing works which we still
admire, and which become surprising when we think of the utter
ignorance of all science in those dark ages." Our English writer,
Hope, taking their later appellative of Lombards, credits Lombardy
with being the cradle of the associations of Freemasons, "who were,"
he says, "the first after Roman times to enrich architecture with a
complete and well-ordinated system, which dominated wherever the Latin
Church extended its influence from the shores of the Baltic to those
of the Mediterranean."[84] We will omit the witnesses, Kugler of
Germany and Ramée of France, and take the Italian great authority,
Pietro Selvatico.[85] He notes that art in Europe, from the seventh to
the thirteenth century, consisted of a combination of Byzantine and
Roman elements, but in the ninth century a third element mingled,
which had in itself so much that was original, as to constitute an
independent style. "This," he goes on to say, "was the Lombard or
Comacine architecture, as it is called, which is distinguished by its
low-pitched roofs, its circular arches, rounded on columns, which
assimilate to the Greek and Roman styles. This gained a certain
systematic unity after the first half of the ninth century." Prof.
Selvatico seems to have ignored all the Comacine architecture under
the Longobards, who were certainly the nurses of the guild, and takes
it up just when it was freeing itself from the bonds of superstitious
tradition, _i.e._ the transition between Roman-Lombard and Romanesque.

   _page 111._]

No doubt the genealogy of the style was this. First, the Comacines
continued Roman traditions as the Romans continued Etruscan ones;
next, they orientalized their style by their connection with the East
through Aquileia, and the influx of Greek exiles into the guild. Later
came a different influence through the Saracens into the South, and
the Italian-Gothic was born.

The Comacine art of the interregnum after Charlemagne may be judged by
the church of S. Zeno at Verona. This had been rebuilt in 810 by King
Pepin, whose palace was in Verona. His church fell a prey to the
devastation dealt by the Huns in 924, and Bishop Rothair restored it
in the tenth century, the Emperor Otho the First furnishing the funds.
There was a third restoration in 1139, when the present front and
portico were added. The general form of Otho's church still remains,
and shows the usual "three naves" (emblematical of the Trinity), and
the circular arches supported by alternate columns and pilasters. The
roof, as in all the older Lombard churches, was of wood, and not
vaulted. It is not recorded whence Otho obtained his architects, but
though no names are written, the Comacine mark is there. Later
restorations have wiped out most of the old signs, but they have left
us some capitals on the columns and the reliefs on the arches leading
into the crypt under the tribune. Two of the columns are here
illustrated. In one may be seen human figures clinging to
palm-branches, by which the Magister who carved it symbolized man
clinging to Christ. The other is a veritable Comacine knot, formed of
mystic winged creatures, with their serpent tails entwined. On the
arches of the crypt are a wealth of mediæval imaginings, mystic
beasts, Christian symbols, scriptural characters and ancient myths,
all mingled together as only a Freemason of the Middle Ages could
mingle them. Otho's architects were certainly _Magistri_ of our guild,
and probably our friend from Pontida, who called on S. Zeno to save
him from the brigands, was one of them.

It is undeniable that later Comacines put the elegant façade to the
church in 1139, when Magistri Nicolaus and Guglielmus carved the
wonderful porch with its columns resting on lions, and its very
mediæval reliefs, in which we see Theodoric, King of the Goths, going
straight to the devil in the guise of a wild huntsman. On the
architraves are allegorical reliefs of the twelve months. But this
front is not of the era we are now discussing, and we shall mention it

A work which is indubitably of the ninth century, and has all the
marks of the time, is the atrium of S. Ambrogio at Milan, which was a
commission to Magister Adam of the Comacines, by Anspert of Bissone,
who was Archbishop of Milan from 868 to 881. The atrium of a church
was anciently used for the catechumens, as they were not admitted into
the body of the church till they were baptized. The atrium of S.
Ambrogio is a square space surrounded by a portico composed of columns
supporting round arches. The proportions are so fine and majestic that
it is looked on as the best mediæval edifice existing in Lombard
style. The capitals are composed of foliage, strange ornaments, and
groups of grotesque animals and monsters rudely sculptured; and yet
with the imperfect chiselling there is such a freedom of design and
wealth of imagination as you find in no Byzantine work, however
precise its execution. We give an illustration of one of its capitals.
The Comacine _intreccio_ is there, but floriated and luxurious. The
significance of these sculptures, though unintelligible to us, is
believed to be the occult and conventional art language of the
Comacines or Freemasons. On the doorway, among the foliage and
symbolic animals, one may still read the name of "Adam Magister."

   _page 112._]

Another very important church of the ninth century is the cathedral
of Grado, near Venice, which had been first built between 571-586,
seemingly by Byzantine artists, though they also used old classical
capitals from former buildings. The plan of this Basilica in its older
form shows very clearly the leaning to one side which we have said was
a symbol of Christ's head being turned in pain on the Cross. Here not
only the left aisle reaches higher up than the right, but the wall of
the façade slopes considerably. In the ninth century Fortunato,
Patriarch of Grado, who lived about 828, sent for _artefici
Franchi_[86] to restore the Baptistery of S. Giovanni on the island
which was the metropolis of maritime Venice. Now what were these
_artefici Franchi_? It is clear they could not have been French, for
Charlemagne himself had to get builders from Lombardy, his own country
not having as yet enough skill in masonry. It is natural to suppose
they were the guild from Cisalpine Gaul, which though composed of
Italians had been styled "Lombards" while under the Lombard kings, and
may have been "Franchi" while the Carlovingian kings ruled. They were
known as "Tedeschi" when later they were under the protection of the
German emperors, a term which puzzled old Vasari greatly. It is still
a question whether the real interpretation would not be the literal
one, Free-masons, who may well have been recalled from France where
they were at work.

The wording of a phrase in the will of the Patriarch Fortunato, where
he says "_feci venire magistros de Francia_," shows plainly that he
referred to architects belonging to a guild in which the higher orders
were called _Magistri_.

Having begun to work at Grado, the Lombards were evidently employed in
other Venetian churches. Their style is said to be very evident in the
Duomo of Murano, but how much they did, and whether they worked with
Eastern or other architects, will, I suppose, never be precisely

A curious little church of this epoch is existing in almost its
original form at a village called Abadia, near Sesto Calende on Lake
Maggiore. It has a crypt and a portico, three naves and three
apses.[87] The crypt is supported on round arches and small thin
columns, the roof is of wood. The portico has three arcades resting on
columns and pilasters with capitals of Lombard-Byzantine style.

We find the guild at work not only in the north, but in the south of
Italy at this epoch. One of the famous buildings in South Italy with
which the Comacine Masters were connected, is the celebrated monastery
of Monte Cassino with its church. This monastery had been built in the
first instance by a Brescian named Petronax, who made a pilgrimage to
Rome to see Pope Gregory II. The Pope urged Petronax to go to Monte
Cassino where St. Benedict was buried. He went and there was inspired
to found a monastery.

By the beginning of the eleventh century this had been much ruined by
the Saracens and others, and Desiderius its abbot, in 1066, decided to
restore it. He was of the race of the Lombard Dukes of Beneventum, was
a friend of Pope Gregory VII., and became his successor on the papal
throne under the name of Victor III. Desiring that his church should
be a very "majestic temple," he sent to call artificers from Amalfi
and from Lombardy.[88] Among the Italians was a certain Andrea, from
Serra di Falco, near Como, a fine worker in metal, who, with his
disciples, made the bronze doors.

Some interesting baptisteries were erected in the tenth century by
the Comacines. The baptistery at this time seems to have had a set
form--the octagon; and a mystical significance, that figure being
highly symbolical of the Trinity, being formed by a conjunction of
three triangles. In the earlier days of the Romano-Lombard style, the
baptistery generally had only a small arcade, or row of brackets
supporting arches round the outer wall beneath the roof, and a
practicable gallery round the interior. Of this shape was the
Florentine Baptistery, that of Como and many others.

When the later Comacines worked in more florid Romanesque style, the
Baptisteries were often covered with little galleries or rows of
colonnettes like those of Pisa, Parma, Lucca, etc.

A fine specimen of Lombard work of about 1000 A.D., or a little later,
which shows the approach towards a more Gothic style, may be seen in
the cloister of Voltorre, a little walled town on Lake Varese. The
cloister of Voltorre is thus described--"The beauty of this
eleventh-century Lombard building is singular. The four sides are
formed of porticoes which sustain the upper storey. The porticoes
facing the open court are formed on one side of small graceful arches
in brick, with friezes and reliefs sustained by elegant colonnettes,
some round and some octangular, with capitals of various forms. On two
other sides the colonnettes are smaller and shorter, but still
graceful; they terminate in varied and bizarre capitals surmounted by
a kind of bracket on which the large stones of the upper building
rest. Among the sculptures of the little columns on the left as one
enters the court, is incised in mediæval characters and abbreviations
the following--'_Lanfrancus magister filius Dom. Ersatii de
Livurno_.'" Livurno most probably stands for Ligurno, a place a few
miles from Voltorre. So our master Lanfranco Ersatti, having graduated
in the Comacine Guild, set himself to embellish his native place. In
1099 Magister Lanfranco designed the Duomo of Modena, which, as will
be seen hereafter, was the work of centuries, he being followed by a
long series of architects.

Then came more troublous times for the Comacines in their own country.
From 1118 to 1127 A.D. the republic of Como was at fierce war with the
Milanese. A long poem by a Comacine poet, quoted by Muratori,
describes the workmen and artisans fighting in the streets in their
working dress, and wielding any tool or weapon they could find. The
masons and builders worked as sappers and miners, dug the trenches,
built up barricades, and destroyed the enemy's houses and castles. One
of these brave citizens, named Giovanni Buono, is especially mentioned
by the ancient poet, and he is peculiarly connected with the Comacine
Masters as the first of a long line of _Magisters_ of the Buono
family. He forms a tangible link between the half-traditional
Comacines of Lombard times, and the more clearly defined guild of the
Romanesque epoch. From that to the Italian Gothic period their
identity is traceable by documents. A warlike bishop, Guidone, was the
leader of the Comacines, but after three years' war he fell ill, and
on his death-bed prophesied the fall of his fatherland.

The Comacines were indeed at the end of their resources, they were
exhausted of means, of food, and of warriors; and after several
victories at length fell under the power of the Milanese, becoming a
tributary state. But it was not till Milan had called in the aid of
several other cities that brave little Como succumbed to her on August
27, 1127. She was not enslaved even then, and must have retained her
political freedom, for we find her siding with Frederic Barbarossa in
1167, against the whole Lombard League, to her cost, for she was a
great sufferer in the battle of Legnano on May 29, 1176.

Barbarossa tried to make some compensation, by ceding to Como the
castles of Baradello and Olona. A coin exists, of the Como mint of
that time, with an eagle and _Imp. Federicus_ on one side, and
_Cumanus populus_ on the other. Frederic had reason to cultivate the
Comaschi, for they sent 200 ships to the Venetian war for him. An
edict of Barbarossa's in 1159, and another dated 1175, shows that he
allowed the Comacines to rebuild their walls and city at that date,
_civitatem in cineres collapsam funditos re ædificavimus nos_. This
occupied them a long time. The tower towards Milan bears the date of
1192. The round tower that of 1250. There were eight gates in these
new walls.


[83] _Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. cap. ii. p. 79.

[84] Hope, _Storia dell' Architettura_, ch. xxii. p. 159 (Italian

[85] _Storia estetico-critica della arti del disegno_, Lezione iv.

[86] The Act exists still, and is quoted in Sagredo's work, _Sulle
consorterie delle Arti Edificative in Venezia_, p. 28.

[87] The same form is shown in the contemporary church of St. Victor
at Arsago near Milan.

[88] Conductis protinus peritissimis artificibus tum amalphitanis,
quam lombardis.--_Cronaca Sacri monasterii Cassinensis_, auctore Leone
Cardinali Episcopo, Lib. III. cap. xxviii.





The great building guild of the Middle Ages had another connection
with France, independently of Charlemagne, and one which perhaps left
a more lasting impression on the nation than the church of
Aix-la-Chapelle. It was through the Normans, who held a prominent
place in the history of Romanesque art, some authors giving them the
credit of its introduction into Italy.

This may be, but between the tenth and twelfth centuries architecture
and sculpture underwent so many transformations and became mingled
with so many different elements that its history is most difficult to
disentangle. There was a maze of different influences brought together
in Sicily, such as Norman, solid and heavy, from the north; Byzantine,
set and precise, from the east; Saracenic, warm and fanciful, from the
south--all mingling together in the temples of Monreale and Palermo,
where I think we may add a fourth and Italian element, in the
Comacines or Lombards.

The first consideration is: How did the Norman architecture first
arise? Was it indigenous? Did the Normans about the tenth and eleventh
centuries suddenly begin building round-arched and pillared churches
from their own inner consciousness?--for all histories assure us there
were no stone Norman-arched buildings before the tenth century, and
that by 1150 the pointed style had already begun to supersede it. All
the great and typical examples are crowded into the last fifty years
of the eleventh century, at which time the Norman dukes were very
powerful. It was a time of enterprise and excitement of all kinds, not
the least of them being the rage for church-building, awakened by the
early missionaries.

   THE COMACINE STYLE OF BUILDING (_opus gallicum_).
   (_From a photograph by Mr. Freeman Dovaston, Oswestry._)
   _See page 124._]

Some light may be thrown on the way the round arch first got into
Normandy, by the following bits of old Norman chronicles, which show
that a very important event took place in the history of the Comacines
at the end of the tenth century, connecting them in a remarkable and
suggestive manner with the rise of Norman architecture. We find from
old chronicles that S. Guillaume, Abbot of S. Benigne in Dijon, was a
Lombard, born in 961 on the island of Santa Giulia, in Lago di Orta,
part of Lago Maggiore. He was the son of a certain Roberto, Lord of
Volpiano; Otho the Great himself had been his godfather at the time
when he besieged the island, and took prisoner Willa, wife of King
Berengarius. Guillaume (William) was, as his friend and biographer,
Glabrius Rodolphus, tells us, "of a keen intellect, and well
instructed in the liberal arts." In his youth he travelled much in
Italy, and was often at Venice, where he formed a close friendship
with Orso Orseolo, Patriarch of Aquileja. The Patriarch Orso was at
that time engaged in the restoration of the church of Torcello, one of
the gems of architecture of the age; while his brother, the Doge Otho
Orseolo, was pressing forward the works of S. Marco at Venice. It was
here probably that S. Guillaume was interested in the Masonic guild,
and recognizing its power as an aid to mission work, would have joined
it. He founded the famous monastery of S. Benigno di Fruttuaria in
Piedmont, and towards the end of the tenth century he went to France
with the venerable Abbot of Cluny; here he decided to build a
monastery to S. Benigne in Dijon, which he himself designed. But to
effect his design he had to send to Italy, his own country, for
"many people, men of letters, masters of divers arts, and others full
of science."[89] The chronicler goes on to say that Guillaume
displayed much wisdom in bringing these masters (_magistri
conducendo_) to superintend the work (_ipsum opus dictando_). These
two phrases are identical with those of Article 145 in the Edict of
Rotharis, and I think might be equivalent to a proof that the Italians
who built S. Benigne at Dijon were indeed of the Comacine Guild. The
chroniclers further tell us that the Abbot Guillaume was invited to
Normandy by Duke Richard II., to "found monasteries and erect
buildings." The very phrase implies his connection with, and command
of architects. He at first refused, because he had heard that the
Dukes of Normandy were barbarous and truculent, and more likely to
deface than to erect sacred temples; but afterwards he decided to go.
He stayed there twenty years, founding forty monasteries, and
restoring old ones, which were in those days chiefly built of wood.
"He had many of his Italian monks trained to continue the work he had
begun. These propagated such love and taste for art in those rude and
bold Normans, that stone buildings multiplied there, and when William
of Normandy conquered England, the style passed over with him." Hope,
whose judgment is unerring on all subjects connected with the Lombard
style, confirms this. He says[90] that some time before the style came
into England, Normandy had given remarkable models of a _tutto-sesto_
(round-arched) or Lombard style, and that the same precedence is
noticeable in the pointed or composite style. Indeed, the English owe
to the Normans the erection of many fine edifices of both kinds. Thus
some gave the name of Norman to the Gothic buildings and others gave
it to Lombard ones, and it was imagined that the pointed arch came
originally from Normandy. And yet Normandy was one of the stations of
pointed architecture in its pilgrimage towards us from the south. As
an illustration and convincing proof of this pedigree of Norman style
from the Lombard, we may give one of our oldest so-called Norman
churches, that of St. Bartholomew the Great at Smithfield, London. The
original nave has vanished, but the tribune remains, divested, it is
true, of the two great piers in front of the apse, which were removed
in 1410. The semi-circle of the apse has, however, been replaced in
the old style; and, with its pillared arches and ambulatory,
harmonizes well with the ancient part, now the nave, which is
perfectly Lombard. The ambulatories below, and the women's gallery,
such as we find in St. Agnes at Rome, and many Comacine churches, both
have a distinctly Italian origin. Even the stilted arches in the choir
only seem in their outline like magnified Lombard windows. The masonry
is the true Comacine style, great square-cut blocks of stone, smoothed
and fitted with exact precision; while the windows of the triforium
are clearly a four-light development of the two-light Lombard window,
divided by its small column; the very form of the column is identical,
though it lacks the sculpture. Probably the Italian artists were few,
and English assistants not yet trained. The clerestory was a reflex of
a later style, being added in 1410, to replace the so-called Norman
one, which no doubt had the usual round-arched windows with a column
in the centre. Indeed, I think it would be worth the while of
archæologists to find out whether the whole church were not originally
built by Italian architects, as Rahere, its founder, was in Rome on a
pilgrimage, when he fell very ill of fever, and vowed to build a
hospital if he recovered. He soon after had a vision of St.
Bartholomew, who instructed him to return to London, and build a
church in the suburbs of Smithfield. He founded both the church and
hospital of St. Bartholomew in about 1123. There seems to me to be
such a difference between this church and other more heavy Norman
contemporary buildings, that it might be suspected Rahere followed the
older example of St. Wilfrid and St. Benedict Biscop, and brought over
the Comacines with him.

   (_From a photograph by Mr. Freeman Dovaston, Oswestry._)
   _See page 124._]

I cannot agree with Mr. Fergusson in his assertion that the members of
the early Freemason guilds were only masons, and never designed the
works entrusted to them, but always worked under the guidance of some
superior person, whether he were a bishop or abbot, or an accomplished
layman. Certainly the architects who worked for the Longobards must
also have sometimes given the design, or what do the words _opus
dictando_ mean in the Edict of Rotharis? Surely Theodolinda could not
have been architect enough to draw the plan for Monza. Nor do I think
that the word _Magistro_ in the masonic or any other art guild,
applied to mere masons or underlings, but to those who were so far
masters of their craft as to direct others, and make a working plan
for them. The bishop or abbot, or educated layman, might have formed
his own idea about the style he wished his building to take, and have
made a sketch of it; but the practical working plan would have been
drawn by the Magister, who directed his workmen or _colligantes_ to
put it into execution.

It is true that many ecclesiastics were, like the monks of S.
Guillaume at Dijon and other Dominicans, members of the Masonic
guilds, and were accordingly versed in the science of architecture. In
that case the monk, when he became bishop or abbot, might furnish a
plan, and very often did so. Fra Sisto and Fra Ristori built Santa
Maria Novella in Florence; but they were connected with the Florentine
lodge, so their doing so would certainly be no proof that the Masters
of the guild could not have done equally well themselves.

That the oldest churches in Normandy have a great affinity to Lombard
buildings is evident on examination. See the Lombard-shaped windows in
the towers of St. Stephen's at Caen; the exterior of the circular apse
of St. Nicholas, Caen, which still keeps its original hexagonal form,
with pilasters like slight columns running from ground to roof at each
division, and a colonnade surrounding it of perfect Lombard
double-arched form, with a small pillar in the centre of each. (_See_
Fergusson's _Architecture_.)

The local Norman developments are equally well defined in this
building; the usual little Lombard gallery beneath the roof has given
way to large, deep, circular-headed windows, and the roof has taken
the high pitch natural to the climate. Both of these are climatic
distinctions; the northerner aiming at more light, the southerner
trying to shut out the sun: the damp climate, of course, necessitated
the sloping roof.

Now, before the Normans came back to Italy they had made Italian
architecture their own, and impressed on it their own character,
rugged and robust, and it was so different to the buildings in South
Italy with which they have been accredited, that I think this theory
will have to be revised. The arts were certainly not influenced in
Sicily by the first Norman invasion in 1058 under Roger I., son of
Tancred, he being entirely a bellicose and rough warrior. It was when
the Normans had taken root there, had become more softened, and had
formed a settled government; in fact, after Roger II. had been crowned
King of Apulia and Sicily in 1130, that they began to give their minds
to artistic architecture. This was a century and a half after Abbot
Guillaume took his countrymen over to build at Dijon. The first stone
of the Duomo of Cefalù was laid in 1131, and the royal palace of
Palermo begun during the next year. Under Roger's successors the fine
churches of Martorana, and the cathedral of Monreale in 1172, the
cathedral of Palermo (1185), and the palace of Cuba arose. An Italian
writer, La Lumia, is very enthusiastic over the Duomo of
Monreale--"that visigoth (_sic_) art which had in Normandy erected the
cathedrals of Rouen, Bayeux, etc., multiplied in Monreale the ogival
forms which had been known and practised in Sicily since the sixth
century,[91] and took its upward flight in towers and bold spires. In
the mosaics and decorations the majestic Arabic art espoused Byzantine
and Christian types. The varied and multiplex association has
impressed on these works an _impront_ both singular and stupendous.
The columns show the ruins of pagan classicism, the incredible
profusion of marbles, verd-antique, and porphyry speak of a rich and
florid political state; while the solemn mystery of those sublime
arcades, profound lines and symbolic forms; the dim religious light,
the ecstatic figures of prophets and saints with the gigantic Christ
over the altar offering benediction to men, all shadow forth the
mediæval idea of Christianity--full and ingenuous faith, vivified by

Then he goes on grandiloquently to say--"The names of the builders are
unknown to us, and we need not trouble to seek them: a generation and
era is here with all its soul made visible, with all its vigorous and
fruitful activity."

But if we cannot find the names it would at least be interesting to
know whether the Norman-Siculo architecture were entirely the work of
the Normans or not. Gravina, Boitò, and other Italian writers think
that the Normans took a similar position in Sicily to that of the
earlier Longobards in the north, _i.e._ that they were the patrons,
and employed the artists whom they found in Sicily.

Merzario,[92] giving as his authority Michele Amari,[93] brings
forward as a suggestive fact, that precisely at the time of the Norman
occupation, there was a large emigration into Sicily of members of the
Lombard or Comacine Guild. Amari thinks that the feudal government of
the Normans at that time did not allow their subjects to emigrate from
land to land (excepting of course their armies for purposes of
conquest), while in North Italy feudalism was going out, and with the
establishment of republics the movement of the inhabitants was freer.
"This," he says, "accounts for the so-called colonies of Lombards,
which came to Sicily at that time, but of which, unfortunately, we
have no reliable historical evidence."

These Lombardo-Siculan colonies, however, have been clearly traced by
an Italian writer, Lionardo Vigo, in his _Monografia critica delle
colonie Lombardo sicule_.[94] He has proved that there were four
Lombard colonies in Sicily. That the first went down with Ardoin and
Mania, between 1002, when, on Otho's death, Ardoin was elected King of
Italy, and his retirement to S. Benigno in 1013 after his long
struggle with Henry II. The second was during the Norman conquest of
Sicily in 1061; the third later in the century, at the time of the
union of the Norman and Swabian dynasties; and the fourth about 1188
under the Emperor Frederic,--this colony was led by Addo di Camerana.

The first two colonies left no lasting traces in the island, but the
third founded the town of Maniace, and the last planted a settled
colony which has left its mark, not only in the language, but in the
many Lombard place-names. Thus there are in Sicily villages named
Carona, Gagliano, Novara, Palazzolo, Padernò, Piazza, Sala, and
Scopello, all of which are names of older places in the Comacine
territory. Another name, "Sanfratelli" (the holy brethren), is very
suggestive of the patron saints of the Lombard Guild, the "Quattro
Incoronati." It is in this district precisely that Signor Vigo finds a
special language, which has no affinity with Sicilian, or central
Italian, and which he describes as a "hybrid, bastard language; a
decayed Longobardic, only intelligible to those who use it; a
frightful jargon and perfectly satanic tongue."

In the same volume of the _Archivio Storico Siciliano_ is another
collection of documents, regarding an episode of the war between the
Latin and Catalonian factions at Palermo in the time of Ludovico of
Aragon, about 1349. It shows in a list of volunteers, several names of
_Magistri_ which seem to be familiar to us. Here is Magister Nicolao
Mancusio, Magister Guillelmo, Magister Nicolao de Meraviglia, Magister
Chicco, Magister Juliano Guzù, Magister Roberto de Juncta (Giunta),
Magister Vitalis, both from the Pisan lodge, Julianus Cuccio, Salvo di
Pietro, etc. We find that Benedictus de Siri, a Lombard, was paid for
twenty soldiers for ten days. Again on July 31, 1349, among the
payments made to those who fought to defend Vicari during the siege,
we find Magister Vanni di Bologna, Paulo de Boni, Magister Gaddi,
Magister Benedicto de Lencio (Lenzo near Como), and Johanni de
Gentile, and various others, all mixed up with ordinary folks who have
no magic _Master_ before their names. This seems to imply that the
Lombard colony at that time had been long enough in Sicily to be
nationalized, and that they furnished men for the war like any other

In some cases the payments are made to the heirs of Magister Johanne
or Vitale, thus proving them to have become possessed of property.
This was a privilege accorded to the Comacine Masters even in feudal
times, when other classes were bound and enslaved. From the example of
Magister Rodpert, the Longobard who sold his land at Toscanella many
centuries before, we judge that when the Comacine remained long in a
place, he made use of his earnings to buy land. Indeed in those days
when no banks existed, landed property was the only secure disposition
for wealth. And having bought his house and vineyards, it was but
natural that he should name the estate after his own native place in

It is gratifying to find these direct proofs of the constant presence
of the Lombard Masters in Sicily during the whole Norman and Swabian
dynasties. It accounts for so much. It accounts for the so-called
Norman architecture in Sicily having so much more affinity to Italian
forms than to French-Norman; and it accounts for the Saracenic cast
which Lombard architecture took after that era. The influence was a
lasting one, and showed itself in all the subsequent work of the
guild, during the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Was this influence imbibed by the Normans who are said to have caused
it? Evidently not.

Was Norman architecture proper, in the north of Europe, immediately
changed? Not at all. It remained the same through all the Norman rule
from Robert Guiscard to the fall of the line. It was not till the
thirteenth century that the elegant pointed Gothic found its way into
England--but not through Normandy--and took the place of the solid
round-arched, short-pillared buildings introduced by William the
Conqueror. We have seen that this round-arched style was first taught
the Normans by the Italian builders whom the Abbot Guillaume brought
northward with him.

But the Lombard influence in France was not confined to Normandy nor
to Aix-la-Chapelle. Hope, the English authority on Lombard
architecture, who spent eight years studying European churches, finds
many a sign of Lombard handiwork on French soil. At Tournus is an
abbey church of extremely interesting Lombard form. Fergusson[95] thus
describes it--"Its antiquity is manifested by the rudeness both of its
design and execution. The nave is separated from the aisles by plain
cylindrical columns without bases, the capitals of which are joined by
circular arches at the height of the vaults of the aisle. From the
capitals rise dwarf columns supporting arches thrown across the nave.
From one of these arches to another is thrown a tunnel vault which
runs the cross way of the building, being in fact a series of arches
like those of a bridge extending the whole length of the nave." Here
we have, I believe, the first step towards the vaulted roof of the
later Gothic buildings. The church of Ainay at Lyons, is said by
Fergusson to be very similar to this.

Then there is the cathedral of Avignon in Provence, with its octagonal
cupola, and its porch of Charlemagne's era in Romano-Lombard style. It
is not unlikely that the earliest Provençal churches were built by
Italian architects, for Avignon was closely connected with the Papacy
at that time, and the Popes as we know were the especial patrons of
the Masonic guild.

In the church of S. Trophime at Arles we have distinct signs of the
Comacines, in the lion-supported columns of the central porch, and the
frieze of sculpture above. There are three richly-sculptured porches;
the central door is divided in two like a Lombard window, by a slight
column which rests on kneeling figures, and has angels carved in the
capital. The richly ornate architrave has lions on each side of it.

The church at Cruas in Provence has three apses with Lombard archlets
round them all. Its dome is surrounded by a colonnade, and a
superimposed round turret with Lombard windows. The tower has the
usual double-arched windows.

Provence shows some beautiful specimens of Italian cloisters, at Aix,
at Arles, and at Fontifroide. The latter has a row of arches supported
by double columns of elegant slightness, and with foliaged capitals of
varied form and great freedom of design. Fergusson says that the
freedom and boldness are unrivalled. The cloister at Elne is still
more varied and unique; the capitals mix up Egyptian, classic, and
mediæval art in a manner truly unique.

As for towers, those left in Provence show a distinctly Lombard style.
The tower at Puissalicon near Beziers is perfect in every particular,
with its pillared Lombard windows increasing in width and lightness as
they ascend.

From Provence, the land of the Popes, the Comacines penetrated further
into France. The church of S. Croix at Bordeaux, attributed to William
the Good, Duke of Aquitaine, who died in 877, has its round-arched
porch, decorated with a profusion of Comacine _intrecci_ of
intertwined vines; and spiral pilasters grouped at the angles. Hope
quotes the façade of the cathedral of San Pietro at Angoulême, as the
finest Lombard one existing. There are numerous files of round arches,
on elegant little columns, statues in niches, rich bas-reliefs,
friezes, and arabesques. The nave is divided into three portions, each
with a cupola. In this we see another step forward towards the vaulted
roof. At Tournus the arches are simply thrown across the three
divisions of the nave; here they are arched into the shape of a dome.
The tower is entirely Lombard in form. There are Lombard churches at
Poictiers, Puy, Auxerre, Caen, Poissy, Compiègne, etc., in all of
which the style is perfectly distinct from the Norman, as it was then
developed; and also from the later Gothic.


[89] "Coeperunt ex sua patria, hoc est Italia, multi ad eum convenire.
Aliqui lyteris bene eruditi: aliqui diversorum operum magisterio
edocti: alii scientia præditi; quorum ars et ingenium huic loco
profuit plurimum."--Chron. S. Benigni Divion, quoted by D'Archery in
_Spicilegio_, vol. ii. p. 384.

[90] Thomas Hope, _Storia dell' Architettura_, ch. xxxviii. p. 263.

[91] The Saracens invaded Sicily in 832; the author must mean the
ninth century.

[92] _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. iii. p. 121.

[93] _Storia dei Mussulmani di Sicilia_, Vol. III. chap. i. p. 222,
_et seq._

[94] See _Archivio Storico Siciliano_, Nuova serie. Anno ix. 1884.

[95] Fergusson, _Handbook of Architecture_, p. 652.



The heading of this chapter implies nothing that can impugn the claims
of the Teutons to the perfecting of the Gothic style, which claims are
undoubtedly fair. It only implies that the pointed Gothic architecture
was not an invention of the Germans, so much as a national development
of some earlier form; and, like all developments, must have had some
link connecting it with that earlier source. Was the Comacine Guild
that link? Legends and traditions pointing to it are many, but, as
usual, absolute proofs are few. Some proofs might be found if, with a
clue in one's hand, search could be made among the archives of the
German cities in which round-arched Lombard-style churches were built
before the pointed Gothic and composite style came in. Some German
_savant_ should sift out certain traditions, which, from want of
authorities and unfamiliarity with the language, I am not able to do.
These are--

Firstly: That St. Boniface came to Italy before proceeding on his
mission to Germany in A.D. 715, and that Pope Gregory II. gave him his
credentials, instructions, etc., and sent with him a large following
of monks, versed in the art of building, and of lay brethren who were
also architects, to assist them.[96] This is the precise method in
which St. Augustine and St. Benedict Biscop were equipped and sent to
their missions in England, and S. Guillaume to his bishopric in
Normandy. What resulted in England from the missions of St. Augustine,
St. Wilfrid, and St. Benedict? The cathedral of Canterbury, the abbeys
of Hexham, Lindisfarne and others--all distinctly Lombard buildings.
What did S. Guillaume do in Normandy? He built the churches of Caen,
Dijon, etc., also in pure Lombard style, not in the heavier Norman by
which the natives followed it. So in Germany we hear that among the
bishoprics founded by St. Boniface were Cologne, Worms, and
Spires,[97] precisely the cities which have remains of the earliest
churches in Lombard style. There are many other German churches, now
fine Gothic buildings, whose crypts and portals show remains of older
round-arched buildings.

Secondly: It is necessary to discover the precise connection of the
Emperors Charlemagne, Otho, and the German monarchs who successively
ruled in Lombardy, with the Masonic guild there. Whether, as they
employed them in the Italian part of their kingdom, they did not also
employ them across the Alps.

Thirdly: To find out whether, when Albertus Magnus went back to
Cologne from Padua, he had not become a _Magister_ in the Masonic
guild, as many monks were, and whether he propagated the tenets of the
brotherhood in Germany.

Certain proof exists that he designed the choir of the cathedral
there, if nothing more. He also wrote a book entitled _Liber
Constructionum Alberti_, which afterwards became the handbook for
Gothic work. It is probable that this was in great part borrowed from
an earlier Italian work on the construction of churches, named
_L' Arcano Magistero_. This, however, was a secret book of the guild,
and was kept most strictly in the hands of the _Magistri_ themselves.
Kügler relates that in 1090 a citizen of Utrecht killed a bishop, who
had taken _L' Arcano Magistero_ away from his son who was an architect.
I am strongly of opinion that Albertus Magnus was much connected with
the importation of Freemasons into Germany.

Fourthly: To discover whether in the cities where great buildings went
on for many years, there remains any trace of the same threefold
Masonic organization, which we find in the Italian cathedral-building
towns; and whether the administration thereof was jointly managed by
the _Magistri_ or head architects, and the patrons or civic
authorities of the city in which the buildings were carried on.

All these things can only be verified, in case the works of
contemporary chroniclers still exist, or if there remain any traces of
archives of so early a date.

As far as style in building goes to prove anything, the Lombards
certainly preceded the native Gothic architects in Germany. Hope
enumerates several churches, such as those at Spires, Worms, Zurich,
and several old ones at Cologne, built before or about the
Carlovingian era, which have every sign of Lombard influence.

The Gross Münster of Zurich was begun in 966 as a thank-offering of
the Emperor Otho for his victories in Italy, and its plan, arches,
windows, towers (excepting only the climatic addition of the pointed
roofs) are all in Lombard style. The cloister adjoining it is very
Italian, with its double columns and its sculptured capitals. Now, as
Otho granted a special charter to the Masonic guild of Lombardy, it is
natural to suppose that when he wanted a church built, he would employ
this valuable class of his new subjects. At Basle we have a distinct
sign of the Comacine Masters in the _intrecci_ and other symbols
sculptured round the _Gallus-pforte_ of the cathedral, while in the
crypt are two carved lions which were once beneath the columns of the
door. They were removed in the restoration of the cathedral, after the
earthquake of 1356. These lions are precisely the counterparts of
those in the doorways of Modena and Verona. But it is at Cologne, the
city of Albertus Magnus, that the Lombard style is unmistakable. Can
one look at the three apses of the churches of the Apostles and of St.
Martin, with the round arches encircling them, and little pillared
galleries above, or at the double-arched windows in the towers,
without at once recalling the Romanesque churches of Lucca, Arezzo,
and Pisa, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries?[98]

Santa Maria del Campidoglio at Cologne, which was founded by
Plectrude, wife of Pepin, has the same Lombard galleries running round
the apses, and Cunibert's church in its western door shows not only
pure Comacine sculpture, but the characteristic lion of Judah between
the column and the arch. S. Andrea and S. Pantaleone, both founded in
954 by Bishop Bruno, brother of Otho the Great, were in the same
style. This group of buildings all in one city, and all founded under
the Emperors who ruled in Italy, surely suggest that when Charlemagne
took over the builders for Aix-la-Chapelle, they as usual left their
school and _laborerium_ there, and that Otho and his successors in
their turn had not far to go for architects.

   _See pages 137 and 257._]

If their churches are not enough, the civil architecture of that epoch
also affords proof of Lombard influence in Germany. Compare the
windows and style of the ancient dwelling-house at Cologne which
Fergusson illustrates, p. 590, with those of any Lombard building
whatsoever, from the Palace of King Desiderius in the eighth century
to the Bargello of Florence in the thirteenth, and you will find them
identical. The only German innovation is in the high gabled roof.
Again, compare St. Elizabeth's home, the Castle on the Wartburg,
with the ancient Communal Palace at Todi, or at Perugia, or other
Lombard building of the twelfth century, and its genesis will at once
be seen.[99]

Ferd. Pitou, author of the fine monograph on the Cathedral of
Strasburg, confirms the presence of Italian builders in Germany, not
only in the time of the Carlovingians and the line of Otho, but also
in the later times of the Swabian dynasty. He says, when speaking of
the works at Strasburg, that "colonies of artisans, chiefly sent from
Lombardy and other parts, where church-building was prevalent,
accompanied the monks and ecclesiastics who directed the work. These
spiritual leaders, however, had all the glory of the buildings up to
about the end of the twelfth century, when ogival architecture arose.
These Lombard colonies pushed on beyond the Rhine, to the Elbe, the
Oder, and the Vistula, and even penetrated to the forests and lands of
Sarmatia and Scythia."

There seems little doubt that the German lodges founded by the
Comacine emigrations took root, and became in time entirely national.
Traditions are many, and most of them point back to Italy. For
instance, legend says a brotherhood of stone-carvers existed in Spires
and Bamberg from the time when those cathedrals were begun. Others say
that Albertus Magnus on his return from Padua formed the first Masonic
association in Germany, making special laws and obtaining especial
privileges for the immense number of builders he collected to put into
execution his cathedral at Cologne.[100] Again, L' Abbé de Grandidier,
writing to a lady in November 1778, tells her that he has discovered
an ancient document three centuries old, which shows that the
much-boasted society of the Freemasons is nothing but a servile
imitation of an ancient and humble confraternity of real builders
whose seat was anciently in Strasburg. Hope, however, says that the
Strasburg lodge, which was the earliest acknowledged German one, was
first recognized by a legal act executed at Ratisbon in 1458, and that
the Emperor Maximilian ratified and confirmed the act by a diploma
given at Strasburg in 1498.

My theory is this, that in their early emigrations the Comacine
Masters founded the usual lodges; that the Germans entered their
schools and became masters in their turn; that in the end the German
interest outweighed the foreign element in the brotherhood, and the
Germans, wishing to nationalize an art which they had so greatly
developed, split off from the universal Masonic Association, as the
Sienese builders did in Siena in the fourteenth century, and formed a
distinct national branch: that this decisive break probably took place
at Strasburg, and that other lodges followed suit and nationalized
themselves in their turn. No doubt some German searcher into archives
may arise, who will do for Cologne and Strasburg what Milanesi has
done for Siena, and Cesare Guasti for Florence, and so throw light on
the complicated organization of patrons, architects, builders, and
sculptors which banded together under one rule, to build the multiplex
and grand old cathedrals.


[96] See the Letters of Pope Gregory II., and Life of St. Boniface.

[97] Milman, _Latin Christianity_, Vol. II. chap. v. p. 302, Book IV.

[98] See illustrations in Fergusson, pp. 578, 579.

[99] See illustrations in Fergusson's _Handbook of Architecture_, pp.
589, 590.

[100] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. x. p. 282.




Wherever the Romans planted colonies, there they established
_Collegia_; without its colleges Roman society was incomplete; the
_Collegium_ was an element essential to Roman life.

The _Collegium_ was a corporation or guild of persons associated in
support of a common object; there were colleges of artists, of
architects, builders, and artisans, as well as colleges associated
with the administration and government, with religion and law.

The _Collegium_ consisted of _Collegæ_ or _sodales_ (fellows, as we
should term them), with a president who was styled "_Magister_"; the
_Collegium_ was recognized by the State, which confirmed the
regulations made by the members for the government of their body,
provided they were in conformity with the laws of the land. There is
evidence that Roman _Collegia_ were established in Britain shortly
after its conquest by the Romans, and there was certainly a _Collegium
fabrorum_ in Britain in the reign of Claudius, the first Roman emperor
to whom the island was subject. Under the direction of the Roman
college, the Britons as builders reached a high degree of excellence
in their craft, "so that when the cities of the empire of Gaul and the
fortresses on the Rhine were destroyed, Constantius Chlorus, A.D. 298,
sent to Britain for and employed British architects in repairing and
re-edifying them" (_Archæologia_, vol. ix. p. 100).

Mr. Coote affirms that _Collegia_ existed here after the final
departure of the Romans from the island, and that the Saxons found
them here, and did not interfere with them. Now if _Collegia
fabrorum_, which certainly existed in Britain throughout the Roman
occupation, were still in existence during the Saxon occupation, it
needs explanation why the earliest missionaries to the Saxons had to
bring or to send abroad for workmen to build churches.

On the Continent the barbarians who overran Italy dreaded the
influence of the _Collegia_, and vigorously suppressed them,
prohibiting them everywhere under the hardest penalties; under such
circumstances we can understand that the societies in Rome could
scarcely escape observation, and we shall be prepared to hear that the
college of architects and builders in that city removed from thence
and took refuge elsewhere. According to tradition they settled at or
near Comum, where in mediæval times, under the title of Comacine
Masters, they gained fame as architects, and their services were in
much request throughout the Continent and beyond it. Had the
barbarians, however, treated the Roman colleges with the same
indifference as the Saxons are reputed to have shown towards them in
England, all guilds of artists and artisans must, for a time at least,
have ceased to exist, or have removed from Rome, where there was no
longer any appreciation of art, or demand for their services.

It is true there is no documentary evidence to prove the continuous
existence of the _Collegia_ from Roman to mediæval times, or to show
that the Roman college, which removed to Comum, was identical with the
Comacine Guild which emerged from the darkness which shrouds the
history of those early times;--there is, however, such evidence as can
be derived from the similarity of the institutions, in their aims and
constitutions. In the latter institution even the title of _Magister_
was retained, though the use of the term was no longer limited to the
president of the body, every competent and fully instructed member of
the society was admitted to the order of _Magistri_,[102]--possibly
because these members formed the governing body--and the president
became a Grand Master. The members generally were called _Liberi
muratori_--Freemasons--because they were not subject to the sumptuary
and other laws which regulated the work and pay of ordinary

Comum, which possessed all the privileges of a Roman _municipium_,
stood at the head of Lacus Larii--the Lake of Como--on the northern
shores of which, from Como to the island of Comacina, P. Strabo and C.
Scipio settled Greek colonies, which Julius Cæsar added to and
consolidated. The names of villages on these shores of the lake are
still some guide to its extent and limits. Comum was made the chief
seat of the colony.

After the fall of the Empire, this Romano-Greek colony seems to have
withstood the attacks of the barbarians, and preserved its
independence for a long time. At the time of the invasion of Italy by
the Longobards, the whole of the northern end of the lake was in the
hands of the imperial (Byzantine) party, and it was not until the year
586 that the island of Comacina fell into the hands of the Longobard
King Autharis, though the lake and country northwards of the island
seem to have still continued under imperial rule. The country around
Comum, therefore, remained in comparative quiet, and if much progress
in art was not possible, there at least it did not become altogether

The Greek influence was evidently strong in the colony. Even the
bishop in the latter end of the fifth century was a Greek, for S.
Abbondio, who died Bishop of Comum in 489, had previously held the
bishopric of Thessalonica; possibly other bishops of that diocese were
of the same nationality: it would be surprising if the Roman
architectural college, which took refuge there, had been altogether
unaffected by it, particularly as the Romans derived their knowledge
of architecture as well as of art from the Greeks, and Greek
architecture was at all times treated by the great Roman architects
with respect, as we learn from Vitruvius; besides, with the fall of
the Empire, all progress in Roman art had ceased, and Byzantium was
the quarter to which men looked for instruction in Christian and
secular art.[104] It could only be that the work of a Roman society of
architects in the midst of a Greek colony would show marked traces of
Byzantine influence, and none the less because in all probability
there were Byzantine societies of a similar kind beside it.

Müller says, after the fall of Rome, Constantinople was regarded as
the centre of mechanical and artistic skill, and a knowledge of art
radiated from it to distant countries.[105]

Let us turn our attention now to Britain. The Italian chroniclists
relate that Pope Gregory in A.D. 598 sent over the monk Augustine to
convert the British, and with him several of the fraternity of _Liberi
muratori_ (Freemasons), so that the converts might speedily be
provided with churches, oratories, and monasteries; also that
Augustine, in 604, despatched the priest Lorenzo and the monk Pietro
back to Rome with a letter to Pope Gregory, begging him to send more
architects and workmen, which he did.[106] We shall presently see,
that although Bede does not say in so many words that Augustine was
accompanied by architects and builders, yet that is the only inference
which can be drawn from his words, and from Pope Gregory's
instructions to Mellitus.

It was a common practice in mediæval times for missionaries, whether
bishops or monks, to have in their train builders and stone-cutters,
and they themselves were often skilful architects. St. Hugh of Lincoln
was not the only bishop who could plan a church, instruct the workmen,
and handle a hod.[107]

Even female saints appear to have included in their retinue, persons
who were capable of building churches, though the followers of St.
Modwen,[108] who, on landing in England from Ireland about A.D. 500,
left her attendants to erect a church at Streneshalen, near the
Arderne forest, while she went to visit the king, may have been only
capable of building in wattle-work or in wood, "of hewn oak covered
with reed," "after the manner of the Scots." Bede (iii. 25) describes
the church of Lindisfarne as "a church of stone," that material not
being usual amongst the Britons (iii. 4); still it is one instance
among many, of the prevalence of the custom for missionaries, whether
priests, monks, or nuns, to take in their train on their missionary
journeys workmen experienced in building, and to employ them where
necessary to build churches for their converts.

Professor Merzario states, on the authority of ancient MSS., that the
architects and builders sent were _Liberi muratori_. Now, the members
of the Comacine Society were known and are described in ancient MSS.
under that title; besides, what other guild would Gregory be likely to
invite to send members to join the mission?--were there indeed any
other building guilds existing at the time, except the Byzantine
societies. It is certainly not probable that Gregory would have
invited Greek _etairia_ to send members with the Roman mission, to
build churches "after the Roman manner," which is what the first
builders in Saxon England did, and in preference to builders belonging
to a society which was of Roman origin, and held all the traditions of
the Roman school of architecture.

But without the record of the Italian chroniclists it would have been
clear to any careful reader that architects accompanied Augustine, and
other early as well as the late missionaries to England. The first
evidence will be found in Bede (i. 26), where it is stated that after
King Ethelbert had been converted to the faith, the missioners built
churches and repaired old Romano-British churches in places whither
they came, for their converts to worship in.

And again (i. 30), Gregory instructs Mellitus not to destroy the idol
temples, but if well built to cleanse them and put altars in them, and
convert them into churches. Gregory states that he decided on this
course after mature deliberation; which shows that Gregory knew that
many of the old Roman temples were still in use, and that Mellitus had
with him architects who were qualified to carry out the necessary
repairs to them.

   _To face page 145._]

Again, in 601, Pope Gregory sent Paulinus and others to assist
Augustine in his work, and by them he sent sacred vessels, ornaments
for the church, and vestments. Now experienced architects and builders
to build churches for the converts were as necessary as the ornaments
wherewith to furnish them, and it is fair to conclude that this
essential had not been overlooked, and that there were with those who
brought the ornaments, men competent to erect the churches to place
them in. Indeed it seems possible that Paulinus himself may have
graduated in the Comacine school of architecture; it is a curious fact
that he is spoken of under the title of _Magister_,[109] the title
given to fully-instructed members of that order, and we know that many
monks were amongst the enrolled members of the Comacine body.

The strongest evidence, of course, would be the evidence of his work
as a builder; unfortunately very little of that remains--though the
little we know about it is consistent with the fact that either he was
of that order, or he had Comacine Masters with him. The Whalley cross
which is attributed to him is ornamented with that peculiar convoluted
ornament which is found in early Comacine work; and he was certainly a
great builder of churches, of the precise type which the Comacines
would have built at that time. Bede relates that he built in Lincoln a
stone church of beautiful workmanship, in which he consecrated
Honorius, Bishop of Canterbury, in the place of Justus. The "beautiful
workmanship" implies an experienced architect. Bede who thus describes
it was a competent witness, and in all probability he knew the church,
which was in his time roofless. Again, King Edwin under the direction
of Paulinus built a "large and noble church of stone" at York (ii.
14). At this time the Comacine builders had not begun to build in the
style which was afterwards known as the Lombard or Romanesque style,
and of which indeed they were the authors, and this church seems to
have been an Italian Basilican church with an atrium at the west end
as was customary in churches of the period; this particular atrium
being built round the little wooden oratory which Edwin had put up
when under the instruction of the bishop, before his baptism, the
oratory being in the midst of the open court.

The Basilican church of the period has been so often described that it
will not be necessary to give a detailed description of it. It
generally consisted of a nave, with two aisles separated from the nave
by arcades; at one end (sometimes at both) the building terminated in
an apse, of which the floor was raised; this raised floor in later
times projected into the nave and was protected by a railing.[110] The
altar was in the centre of the string of the arc of the apse, and
round the arc were seats for the clergy, the bishop's throne being in
the centre, in the place which would be occupied in a Roman heathen
Basilica by the presiding magistrate. Beneath the raised floor of the
apse was the _confessio_ or crypt, in which the body or relics of the
saint to whom the church was dedicated were deposited. Plans of
several Saxon crypts still remaining in England will be found in Mr.
Micklethwaite's valuable paper in the _Archæological Journal_, New
Series, vol. iii. No. 4.

At a little later period a further change was made; on the floor of
the nave from the chancel westward a space was divided off by a low
screen, in each side of which was a _bema_ or pulpit; from which the
Gospel and Epistle were read, and the services sung by the Canonical
singers.[111] A very complete screen of a little earlier date than St.
Augustine may still be seen in the church of San Clemente, Rome; the
ancient church from which it was removed is underneath the present
church; westward of the church was the atrium, an open court
surrounded by a colonnade; the atrium seems to have been used in some
British churches for the canons, who had cells round it.

   _To face page 146._]

St. Cadoc early in the sixth century built a church in Lancarvan
monastery, which monastery he rebuilt; each of the thirty-six canons
had a residence _in atrio_,[112] the residence being probably a cell
with a door opening into the atrium, such as may still be observed in
some old monastic cloisters on the Continent. There is evidence of an
atrium at the west end of Brixworth church, and the construction of
the basements of the towers at St. Mary, Deerhurst, at Monkswearmouth,
and Barton-on-Humber, seems to show that there was a similar
construction at the west end of those churches.

The church of S. Ambrogio, Milan, possesses an atrium built by the
Comacines, but it is of much later date, and would therefore afford a
general idea of an early Saxon church atrium only in plan.

Though we have little ornament of the early Saxon period, and that
little is mainly limited to the ornamentation on early Christian
crosses and fonts, it is clearly of the same character as Comacine
work. The convoluted ornament on Paulinus' cross at Whalley has been
noticed; similar work may be seen on the Kirkdale cross, Bewcastle and
Ruthwell crosses, Crowle and Yarm crosses, and others in England and
Ireland. On the Bewcastle and Ruthwell crosses there are stiff flower
convolutions with birds and beasts on the branches. Collingham cross
has interlacing monsters, and on others are panels sculptured in
representation of Scripture subjects and characters. Some of these
crosses are decorated with another and very mark-worthy ornament,
consisting of bands of interlaced work. These bands are sometimes of a
single strand, but more frequently of three strands. An interlaced
ornament of this kind was found on the Corinthian base of a column in
the church of S. Prassede in Rome. On comparing these interlaced
patterns and convolutions with the carving on the ambo in the Basilica
of S. Ambrogio, Milan, which is Comacine work, it will be seen how
nearly they correspond; whilst the ornaments and sculptured figures in
the façade and round the portals of the doors of S. Michele, Pavia, an
early Lombard church of the eighth century, show treatment similar to
Saxon work. It appears to me possible that this façade has been
rebuilt presumably about the twelfth century, but there can be little
doubt that the carvings as well as a considerable portion of the
church itself are of the earlier date.[113]

All the crosses above-mentioned bear Runic inscriptions upon them, but
on examination it will be seen that these inscriptions are generally
by another hand, and of ruder workmanship than the carving of the
crosses. Sometimes they are little more than scratches, and in one,
namely, the Yarm cross, a panel was evidently left by the carver for
the inscription, which was afterwards cut upon it, but being too
small, the last two lines had to be compressed to be got into the
space. In the Kirkdale and Lancaster crosses, the runes are certainly
inferior in workmanship, and they seem to have been an afterthought.
The borders on which they are cut do not appear as if they were
originally intended to bear them.

The date of the fragment of the Yarm cross is fixed by the
inscription, if it has been correctly read, being dedicated to Bishop
Trumberht, Bishop of Hexham, who lived towards the close of the
seventh century.

The ornament on Saxon fonts, not being so well known, would require
illustrations beyond the scope of this article, to render remarks
upon them intelligible. One instance may, however, be given of the
similarity of ornament in early Italian and Saxon carving. Both the
Saxon font in Toller Fratrum church, Dorset, and the well-head (of the
eighth century) at the office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rome,
are decorated with precisely similar patterns. Interlacing bands in
three strands, bordered by a cable moulding, encircle the top of each.
Similar ornament will be found in Saxon MSS. of the eighth century in
the British Museum Library, as in _Evangelia Sacra Nero_, d. 4.

Besides the ornament on the ancient crosses and fonts, which clearly
belongs to the Saxon period, there are in our churches fragments of
ornament which in all probability are of that era.

The angel carved in stone, built into the north wall of Steepleton
church, near Dorchester, may have formed part of the tympanum of the
doorway of the Saxon church. Floating angels with their robes and legs
bent upward from the knee, precisely similar in treatment to the
Steepleton angel, may be seen in illuminations in Saxon MSS. in the
British Museum. I have examined them, but have mislaid my references
to the press-marks. And in the Museum of the Bargello at Florence is a
small antique carving of Christ in Glory (a _vesica piscis_ enclosing
the whole figure), and angels of this form and attitude surrounding it
with curiously drawn symbols of the four evangelists. The angels in
the east wall of Bradford-on-Avon church are of a similar character.

This seems to be an instance of Byzantine ornament adopted by the
Italian builders. The convoluted and basket-work ornament may also
have been derived from the same source.

The stiff foliage and _intrecciatura_ on Barnack church tower are rude
imitations of Comacine work.

Wherever the Comacines established themselves they founded lodges; to
each lodge a _schola_ and a _laborerium_ were attached, where the
members received instruction and training in the several branches of
their craft. The Comacines who settled with Augustine in the royal
city of Canterbury, must have established according to their custom a
lodge and a _schola_ in that city, for there Wilfrid some seventy
years later sent for architects and builders (_cœmentarii_) to
renew the Cathedral Church of York which had been built by Paulinus,
but possibly through increase of population was now inadequate. The
plan of the ancient church has been traced; it was Basilican in form,
with aisles and an apse.[114]

Wilfrid, Bishop of York for forty-three years, was, while still a
young man, sent to Rome as a companion to Biscop, a Saxon thane who
was afterwards Abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow. There, says Bede, he
spent some months in the study of ecclesiastical matters. On his way
home he remained in Gaul for three years. When he returned to Britain
at the expiration of that time, King Alfred gave him land and the
monastery of Ripon where he built a spacious church, which excited
universal astonishment and admiration; though not so large as the
church he afterwards built at Hexham, it was a noble building. The
apse with its altar was at the west end, and underneath the apse was a
_confessio_, which with its passages still exists. The round-headed
arches within the church were supported by lofty columns of polished

But beautiful as this church was, that at Hexham exceeded it. Eddius
Stephanus, precentor of York, the biographer of Wilfrid, and Richard
of Hexham, give enthusiastic descriptions of it which accord exactly
with what we know the Comacine church of the period to have been.[115]

From them we learn that St. Andrews, Hexham, built by Wilfrid, was a
Basilican church, and in one respect at least it was similar to Ripon;
the apse was at the west end, and beneath it was a crypt with passages
around it; the crypt with its passages is still to be seen. The
proportions of the church were however nobler and the details richer.
The walls were covered with square stones of divers colours and
polished; the columns were also of polished stone; the capitals of the
columns, arches, and vault of apse, and space over the apse-arch were
decorated with sculptures and histories (_i.e._ with paintings
representing sacred scenes) all very splendid and very beautiful,
according to Eddius.

As regards the sculptures, the examples we have of Saxon sculptures
show them to have been generally vigorous, and often grotesque. A
writer in _Archæologia_, vol. viii. p. 174, states that in the vaults
of Hexham there were at the time he wrote many Roman inscriptions and
grotesque carvings. The capitals of columns in Saxon as well as in
later times not infrequently bore grotesque ornament for decoration,
and it was commonly used for other purposes; not even coffins were
exempt from decorations of this nature. Reginaldus de Coldingham (de
virtutibus S. Cuthberti) describes the double coffin of St. Cuthbert,
the inner one being of black oak elaborately carved, the subject of
one of the carvings being a monk turned into a fox for stealing new

As regards their paintings, the Comacines were rather given to
colour--it was in one of their churches, that of S. Maria del Tiglio,
built by Theodolinda, wife of King Autharis, that the Emperor Lothaire
beheld a brilliantly painted picture which adorned the vault of the
apse and represented "The three kings presenting gifts to the Child
Jesus." The picture moved the king to undertake the restoration of the

The Comacines also used frescoes in Theodolinda's palace at Monza in
the fifth and sixth centuries.

From the foregoing description of Hexham church by Eddius Stephanus,
it would appear that there were galleries over the aisles to which
access was gained by spiral stairways in the wall. Similar galleries
and spiral stairway still exist in the church of S. Agnese in Rome. In
this church between the nave and the aisles there is a double arcade
of open arches one above the other; the higher arcade on each side
forms the front of the galleries--above these is a clerestory. The
church of S. Lorenzo at Verona, also a Comacine church, contains a
spiral stairway in the wall which led to the different divisions in
the women's gallery for the widows, matrons, and girls. So far I have
not heard of any ancient spiral stairways as still existing in any
other than in these Comacine churches.[116]

   _To face page 153._]

These galleries and arcades may be regarded as the original of the

Eddius relates that there were also bell-towers at Hexham of
surprising height, and this suggests reflections. Hexham was built
about A.D. 674, early in the Saxon period, and these tall towers were
built wholly at that time. What were they like? The early Comacine
towers were built in several stages; the lowest generally had either
no windows or slits; the next stage above had single-light windows,
plain round-headed and straight-sided, as if cut out of the wall; in
the stages above the windows were of two or three lights divided by
colonnettes, the larger number of lights being in the windows of the
upper stages; in each stage there were commonly four windows, one
opening to each quarter of the compass. Wolstan's description of the
tower of Winchester answers very nearly to this. He says it consisted
of five storeys; in each were four windows looking towards the four
cardinal points, which were illuminated every night.

As examples of early Latin towers, the round towers of S. Apollinare
nuovo, and S. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, and perhaps the square
tower of S. Giovanni Evangelista, may be given. Take any one of them,
that of S. Apollinare nuovo, for instance. Cut off the upper stages by
holding the hand above the eyes, and regard only the lower stages with
the single-light windows, and you have a structure which might be
Roman. It looks very much older than the complete tower; and it is
the same with well-known Saxon towers in England, so that some persons
have been misled into thinking that the lowest stages with
straight-cut single-light windows are much older than the upper
portion with double or treble-light windows--which does not at all
follow, at least not from that fact, for they might be of the same
date;--and they have argued that these lower stages both in Italy and
England are older than the upper ones, notwithstanding the
improbability that the old builders would place a heavy tower on walls
originally intended to carry only a light roof.

The Saxon towers have clearly a Latin or Comacine origin. The walls
are usually of stone grouted in the old Roman manner; and when Lombard
windows, of two or more lights, with a column dividing them, are used,
they are, as a rule, in the upper and not in the lower stages.
Unfortunately we have no towers of the earliest Saxon period still
standing; but the resemblance between the later Saxon and the early
Italian towers is apparent. The same may be said of the later Comacine
towers, S. Satyrus, Milan, for instance (_see_ plate), which Cattaneo
assigns to the ninth century, and regards as the prototype of Lombard
towers; take away the little pensile arch ornament, which was
characteristic of the Comacine style known as Lombard, and you have a
tower which might be Saxon.

Whilst Wilfrid was engaged in building Hexham, his friend and
companion in travel, Biscop, was building the monastery and monastic
church of Wearmouth. Biscop was a Saxon thane of Northumberland; he
became a monk of the monastery of S. Lerino, and, according to Henry
of Huntingdon, on his return from Rome, King Egfrid gave him sixty
hides of land, on which he built the monastery of Wearmouth. Eight
years later, the king granted him more land at Jarrow, upon which he
built a monastery and church. The former was dedicated to St. Peter,
the latter to St. Paul.

  [Illustration: TOWER OF S. SATYRUS, MILAN.
   _To face page 154._]

On obtaining possession of the lands at Wearmouth, Biscop, according
to Bede,[117] set out for Gaul, to find builders to build the monastic
church, "juxta Romanorum quem semper amabat morem."

It might be asked, If there was at Canterbury a Comacine school of
architecture whose special function it was to build on the Roman
model, why did not Bishop Benedict send there for architects and
masons? The simple answer is, that Wilfrid had already engaged them
for his work at Hexham. Wilfrid was building both a church and
monastery there, and evidently had employment for every hand he could

The building of Hexham was commenced in 674, and it was not till that
date that Biscop was in a position to engage workmen for Wearmouth, so
that Wilfrid was just beforehand with Biscop, who in consequence had
to look elsewhere for his architects, and he set out for Gaul to
engage them there.

Now it does not at all follow that because Biscop brought his masons
from Gaul, therefore they were not Comacines. It was as easy to find
Comacines in Gaul as in England. We find them settled there at a later
date, when they were called _artefici Franchi_. There is nothing to
show definitely, but there is presumptive evidence of a settlement of
a guild in Gaul at this time, and it was probably some of the French
Comacines that Biscop employed, for Biscop insisted on a church built
after the Roman manner, a Basilica; he would have nothing else, and no
builders could build a Basilica better than the successors to the
Roman college of architecture.[118]

It seems further probable that these Gallican architects were
Comacines, from the fact that they followed the practice of the
Comacines in establishing a _schola_ at Wearmouth, possibly amongst
the monks, for Naitan, King of the Picts, sent to Cedfrid, who
succeeded Benedict as abbot, and begged him to send architects to him
to build a church in his nation "after the Roman manner," and the
abbot complied with his request.

Mr. Micklethwaite states that "the doorway under the tower of the
church at Monkswearmouth in Durham was doubtless a part of the church
which Benedict Biscop erected there in the seventh century in
imitation of the Basilicas in Rome. The twined serpents with birds'
beaks on the right doorpost are, as we know from MSS. of that age,
singularly characteristic of the style."[119] There is a similar
design on the architrave of an ancient door in San Clemente, Rome.

The decoration of the church seems to have been in the highest style
of ecclesiastical art of the age. Even glass-makers, who might have
been Comacines, were brought from France to make glass for glazing the
windows of the church and of the cells of the monks--no glass had ever
before in Saxon times been used in England for windows--and even
paintings were brought from abroad for the decoration of the walls.
Bede, in his sermon on the anniversary of the death of Benedict,
states that he imported paintings of holy histories, which should
serve not only for the beautification of the church, but for the
instruction of those who looked upon them; vases, vestments, and
other things necessary for the service of the church, were also
brought from Gaul, and those things which could not be obtained there,
were brought "from the country of the Romans."

   _To face page 157._]

The church was pronounced by monkish writers to be for two centuries
the grandest and most beautiful church on this side of the Alps; even
Roman architects admitted that they who saw Hexham church might
imagine themselves amidst Roman surroundings.[120]

There is one point in connection with Saxon architecture not touched.
In much of the Saxon building now standing there are projecting ribs
of stone in the masonry which are commonly known under the name of
pilaster strips. The masonry in which it occurs is perhaps always late
Saxon work. The strips seem to be similar to the pilasters in the
front of Lombard churches; in the latter they are more ornamental in
detail, and are often in the form of shafts occasionally

The external arcading, as in Bradford-on-Avon, seems to be a
modification of late Roman work, followed in various forms in
Comacine, Lombard, Saxon, and Norman work. In its original form it may
be seen on the exterior of the Basilica of S. Apollinare in Classe,
Ravenna, where external arcadings in the masonry of the walls will be
noticed both in the walls of the aisles and in the walls of the nave
above the aisles, the arcading being carried on pilasters built into,
and forming part of, the walls; the pilasters with the arcading
serving to give rigidity to the walls, enabling them to resist the
outward thrust of the roof as buttresses were intended to do in later
times. This church was built about A.D. 300.

In Comacine or early Lombard churches there was an arcading on steps
in the gable of the west front, the steps giving access to the roof on
the outside. In later Lombard churches this arcading became simply an
ornamental detail to the front. To this type belongs the arcading on
Bradford-on-Avon church. In Norman churches it degenerated into a
corbel table, in which the shafting was omitted, the heads of the
arches being supported on corbels.

The Byzantine character of some of the ornaments in Comacine and Saxon
work is accounted for by the fact that the Comacine order found refuge
in a Romano-Greek colony in which the Greek influence was strong, and
in all probability there were Byzantine guilds working alongside of
it. That there is a trace of Oriental form in it is not surprising,
when it is remembered how much communication there was between all
parts of the Christian world notwithstanding the difficulties of
travelling. Teliau, David, and Paternus journeyed to Jerusalem. On
arriving at the Temple they were placed in three ancient stalls in the
Temple, and after expounding the Scriptures were elected by the people
and consecrated bishops (_Vita S. Teliaui Episcopi_). Columbanus, an
Irish saint, established a monastery amidst the ruins of the ancient
Roman city of Bobbio in Italy. St. Cumean, born in 592, obtained
possession of a deserted church in the same city, restored it and
served it.

According to the chronicles of Fontenelle, bishops and clergy, abbots
and monks came from all parts, even from Greece and Armenia, to visit
Richard Duke of Normandy, brother-in-law of our Saxon King Ethelred
and a great church-builder; the Oriental character of some of the
ornaments in Oxford cathedral, which Ethelred rebuilt, is attributed
to the influence of Richard and his Oriental visitors, for Ethelred
took refuge in Normandy for a time to avoid the Danes.

Some Saxons left England at the Norman Conquest and settled in
Constantinople, where they built a church for themselves and other
members of the Saxon colony there.

St. Germanus when he left Britain went to Ravenna, then the royal

Asser relates that Alfred received embassies daily from foreign parts,
from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the farthest limits of Spain, and that he
had seen letters and presents which had been sent to the king by Abel,
Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Many British monks, some of whose lives and legends may still be found
in early MSS., travelled to the south and east, and all over the known
world, and being skilled in architecture, might readily have made
copies of ornaments which took their fancy when travelling in Eastern
countries, and introduced them on their return.

Let us restate the argument briefly--

1. When Italy was overrun by the barbarians, Roman _Collegia_ were
everywhere suppressed.

2. The architectural college of Rome is said to have removed from that
city to the republic of Comum.

3. In early mediæval times, one of the most important Masonic guilds
in Europe was the Society of Comacine Masters, which in its
constitution, methods, and work was essentially Roman, and seems to
have been the survival of this Roman college.

4. Italian chroniclists assert that architects and masons accompanied
Augustine to England, and later Italian and continental writers of
repute adopt that view.

5. Whether this is proved or not, it was customary for missionaries to
take in their train persons experienced in building, and if Augustine
did not do so, his practice was an exception to what seems to have
been a general rule. Besides, a band of forty monks would have been
useless to him unless some of them could follow a secular calling
useful to the mission, for they were unacquainted with the British
language, and could not act independently.

6. Masonic monks were not uncommon, and there were such monks
associated with the Comacine body; so that qualified architects were
easily found in the ranks of the religious orders.

7. From Bede's account of the settlement of Augustine's mission in
Britain, it seems clear that he must have brought Masonic architects
with him.

8. Gregory would be likely to choose architects for the mission from
the Comacine Order, which held the old Roman traditions of building,
rather than those of a Byzantine guild, and the record of their work
in Britain proves that he did.

9. In Saxon as in the earlier Comacine carvings, there are frequent
representations of fabulous monsters, symbolical birds and beasts, the
subjects of some of these carvings being suggested, apparently, by the
"Physiologus," which had a Latin origin.

10. In the writings of the Venerable Bede, and Richard, Prior of
Hagustald, we meet with phrases and words which are in the Edict of
King Rotharis of 643, and in the _Memoratorio_ of 713 of King
Luitprand, which show that these writers were familiar with certain
terms of art used by the Comacine Masters.[122]


[101] This chapter was written by my brother in England, with
different sources of information to the Italian ones used by myself.
It did not reach me till the first half of my work was complete, and
it was very gratifying to find our different sources of study had led
to almost identical conclusions. I have altered no fact or argument in
either. (Leader Scott.)

[102] See chapter i., Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_.

[103] _Ibid._

[104] Care must be taken not to confuse the signification of the word
Greek, as used in two different eras. To the ancient Roman, Greek
architecture would mean the classic style of the Parthenon, etc.; to
the mediæval Italian, Greek art and architecture meant simply
Byzantine, an entirely different thing. (Leader Scott.)

[105] "According to Müller (_Archæologie der Kunst_) corporations of
builders of Grecian birth were allowed to settle in foreign countries,
and to exercise a judicial government among themselves according to
the laws of the country to which they owed allegiance; the principle
was recognized by all the legal codes of Europe, from the fall of Rome
to late in the thirteenth century. Such associations of builders were
introduced into southern Europe during the reigns of Theodoric and

[106] Prof. Merzario, in his _Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. cap. ii. pp.
87, 88, gives as his reference for this Bede's _Ecclesiasticæ Historiæ
gentis Anglorum libri quinque_, "Vita S. Benedicti Biscopi Abbatis
Vuiremuthensis primi ecc." (L. S.)

[107] "Vita Sancti Hugonis Episcopi Lincolniensis."

[108] "Vita S. Moduennæ virginis Hibernicæ."

[109] Montalembert, _I Monaci dell' Occidente_, p. 152.

[110] See Plate, Interior of Fiesole cathedral.

[111] _Conc. Laodic._, c. 15.

[112] Passio S. Cadoci.

[113] See Chapter II., "The Comacines under the Longobards," which
proves Mr. Barnes' conjectures to be true.

[114] Alcuin (lib. v. 1488) describes the appointments of the Saxon
church at York, which were on a scale of great magnificence. There
were two altars covered with plates of gold and silver, and a
profusion of gems; the tapestries were of the richest, and the walls
of the sanctuary were adorned with foreign paintings.

[115] Description of the church built in the monastery of Hexham by
Saint Wilfrid, 674-680. See the Appendix to the "Life of St. Wilfrid"
in Montalembert's fine work on _The Saints of the West_.

"Igitur profunditatem ipsius ecclesiae criptis et oratoriis
subterrancis et viarum anfractibus inferius cum magna industria

"Parietes autem quadratis et bene politis columpnis suffultos et
tribus tabulatis distinctos immensae longitudinis et altitudinis
erexit. Ipsos etiam et capitella columpnarum quibus sustentantur et
arcum sanctuarii, historiis et ymaginibus et variis coelaturarum
figuris ex lapide prominentibus et picturarum et colorum grata
varietate mirabilique decore decoravit. Ipsum quoque corpus ecclesiae
appentitiis et porticibus nardique circumdixit quae, miro atque
inexplicibili artificio, per parietes et cocleas inferius et superius
distinxit. In ipsis vero cocleis, et super ipsas, ascensoria ex
lapide, et deambulatoria, et varios viarum anfractus, modo sursum,
modo deorsum, artificiosissime ita machinari fecit, ut innumera
hominum multitudo ibi existere et ipsum corpus ecclesiae circumdare
possit, cum a nemine tamen infra in eo existentium videri queat.
Oratoriaque quam plurima, superius et inferius, secretissima e
pulcherrima, in ipsis porticibis cum maxima diligentia et cautela
constituit, in quibus altaria in honore Beatae Dei genitricis
semperque Virginis Mariae, et Sancti Michaelis Archangeli, sanctique
Johannis Baptistae et sanctorum Apostolorum, Martyrum, Confessorum,
atque Virginum, cum eorum apparatibus, honestissime praeparari fecit.
Unde etiam, usque hodie, quaedam illorum ut turres et propugnacula,
supereminent. Atrium quoque templi magnae spissitudinis et fortitudinis
muro circumvallavit. Praeter quem in alveo lapideo aquaeductus, ad
usus officinorum, per mediam villam decurrebat."--Richardi, _Prioris
Historia Hagulstadensis Ecclesiae_, c. iii., Ap. Twysden, _Historiae
Anglicanae Scriptores decem._, et Raine's _Priory of Hexham_, p. 2.

[116] See Chap. V., "Comacines under Charlemagne."

[117] Sermo beati Bedæ in natale sancti Benedicti Abbatis.

[118] There is a much easier explanation than this. Lombardy was at
that time part of Gaul--Cisalpine Gaul. The Comacines appear to have
gone to France with Charlemagne; see Chap. V. (Leader Scott.)

[119] Dr. Raine of Durham believed, on the authority of the Chronicles
of Symeon of Durham, that the churches of Monkswearmouth and Jarrow
were rebuilt by the monks of Durham after 1075, and that the church of
Wearmouth could not have been built on the same site, because in the
account of the House at Wearmouth, 1360, the old church is mentioned
incidentally as used for a barn or storehouse (Parker's Introduction);
but allowing that to be the case, it is by no means improbable that
the old doorway was retained and removed to the new church.

[120] "Ibi œdificia minaci altitudini murorum erecta multi proprio,
sed et cœmentariorum quos ex Roma veriunt allequant ut qui
Hagulstadensem fabricam vident, ambitionem romanam se imaginari
jurent."--_Malmesbury, De Gest. Pontiff._ I. iii., f. 155.

[121] This is a decidedly Comacine form of building. All the earliest
apses of Italian churches have these perpendicular shafts. At S. Piero
in Grado they show signs of having been originally covered with
marble. (Leader Scott.)

[122] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. ii. pp. 87-89.



The saints or early missionaries seem to be as closely connected with
the first church-building in Ireland as they were in Gaul, Normandy,
and England; only by some curious circumstance, Ireland became
christianized and built her churches some centuries earlier than
England and Normandy. It is my conviction that in casting off the
legends connected with saints, we have also cast off much real history
belonging to the early missions. Now, the preceding chapter shows that
it is precisely to these first missionaries that we are indebted for
the imported architecture of the pre-Norman date in England, and
presumably also in Ireland. This architecture has been an enigma and a
stumbling-block to archæologists for ages; because while rejecting
everything connected with the saints as legend, they also reject the
only reasonable hypothesis of the genesis of these first stone
buildings, which sprang up in a country as yet only accustomed to
build in wood or earth.

The Round Towers of Ireland, for instance, have formed a greater puzzle
to antiquaries than the churches of Hexham or Lindisfarne--partly
because of their antiquity, and partly from their unlikeness to any
local buildings of the time. The theories in regard to them are wild
beyond all probability. They have been attributed: (1) By Henry
O'Brien to the Tuatha De Danaan, a Persian colony which is supposed to
have built them for phallic worship. (2) By Vellaney to the
Phœnicians, the buildings being afterwards used by the Druids as
fire-towers. (3) By Dr. Lynch, Peter Walsh, Molyneux, etc., to the
Danes, as war-towers.

Petrie, with clearer arguments, claims them as Christian. In his Prize
Essay on the origin and uses of the Round Towers (A.D. 1820) he proves
that no buildings except these towers were known to have cement in
pre-Christian Ireland. For the Pagans and Druids have left us the
great fortresses of Dun Ængus, and Dun Connor on Aran Mor, and the
great sepulchres of Dowth and New Grange, all built without cement and
of unhewn stones. Now the Round Towers are of hewn stones closely
fitted and cemented, till they are solid as a rock, standing firm as
ever, after their fifteen centuries of existence. They are called in
Ireland by the generic name of "cloic-theack," or bell-house, and are
invariably found close to the ruins of a monastery or a church. In
some cases, like the one at Clonmacnoise, the church has entirely
disappeared, leaving only the graveyard to mark its site, and in the
graveyard a veritable Comacine cross!

It cannot be proved that the towers belong to an earlier age than the
churches attached, for we have a witness in the ruins themselves. The
masonry of the tower and the remaining walls of the church at
Kilmacduagh is identical, as are the later tower and church-porch at
Roscrea--_i.e._ good, solid _opus gallicum_.

Miss Stokes and the Rev. John Healy uphold the theory[123] of their
being towers of refuge in warlike times. They may well have been used
as such, on account of their strength, and also their proximity to the
churches, which were always, in the Middle Ages, inviolable cities of
refuge. This, however, does not affect our question as to how the
towers came into Ireland, and whence came their builders. In the
first place, where can similar towers be found dating from times
contemporary? The answer is decided: in Italy. In Ravenna and
Lombardy, from the date A.D. 300 to the fifth and sixth centuries; and
they show just that Eastern touch which distinguishes the
Byzantine-Roman architecture at Ravenna, and has caused authors to
seek the origin of the Round Towers further east than Italy.

The next question that arises is: What was the point of contact
between Ireland and Italy? As in England and Normandy we shall, I
believe, find it in the first missions. The first Irish missionary was
doubtless St. Patrick, A.D. 373-464, who has been taken as the sign
and symbol of Celticism. Yet he was not an Irishman by birth. His
father was a Christian named Calphurnius, his mother was niece to St.
Martin of Tours; he was consequently of continental origin. His
birthplace was Nempthur near Dumbarton, and while yet a boy he was
carried a prisoner to Ireland, and the heathendom there appealed so
strongly to his feelings, that after his release he was haunted by
visions foretelling his future mission to convert Ireland. Pope
Celestin I. gave him his mission in about A.D. 430, and he settled in
Armagh, where he laboured more than thirty years converting and
baptizing both kings and people. He founded schools and built
churches. Probably the first worship was conducted in the open air,
where a cross was set up, as by the English missionaries. The cross
was of the Byzantine form used at that time in Italy; but on its
adoption by the northern saint-missionaries it became known in Britain
as the Irish cross. The ancient Italian one, once in the Forum at
Rome, is of identical style, though of earlier date. St. Patrick's
influence remained and spread. Many of his followers in the ministry
made the pilgrimage to Rome which he had made, and so great was the
fame of sanctity of these Irish preaching brethren, that they were
reverenced in Italy even more than in their native land.

S. Fredianus became Bishop of Lucca, and Columban was Abbot of Bobbio.
It is to these later missionaries rather than to St. Patrick himself
that we must look, as having introduced Italian or Comacine
architecture into Ireland. That they were addicted to church-building
is evident from their at once setting to work wherever they went; S.
Fredianus building a church and monastery at Lucca; St. Columban doing
the same at Bobbio.

And what architects did they employ? Surely some members of the
Comacine Guild, or their monk colleagues. They had seen them at the
court of the Longobardic kings where they tarried and were entertained
during their journey to Rome. And seeing the beautiful churches and
towers in Italy, all made by the magic hands of this guild, is it not
most likely that the Pope, who patronized the guild as one of the most
practical instruments in christianization, should have counselled them
to take back some _Magistri_ with them to Ireland? There is, I
presume, no documentary proof of this, but there are more imperishable
witnesses in the works themselves. The only difference between the
Round Towers of Ireland and those of Italy in the first five centuries
after Christ is the conical roof, which is due entirely to exigencies
of climate. The hewing of the square stones, the close-fitting
masonry, the Roman cement, the simple arches of the windows with their
solidly cut supports, are all pure Lombard-Roman of the time when S.
Fredianus and Columban were in Italy. It is true that with this
similarity there is also a certain clumsiness of workmanship in the
Irish towers, which suggests that either the Italian architects
imported by the Irish missionaries were the less skilful men of the
guild, or, what is more probable, they were few, and had to train
native and unskilled workmen to assist them; but the style they aimed
at, and the forms they used, are the early Italian ones of from A.D.
300 to 500.

In Cormac's chapel at the Rock of Cashel we get the square tower such
as later Comacines used from the sixth to the tenth centuries, with
the double-arched window of the period; and the church beside it has
the same signs. Here are the string courses supported by the row of
little arches, the projecting apse, and the double-light windows, with
only that same northern desideratum--the high gable and sloping roof.
Cormac was an early Bishop of Cashel, who was killed in 907 A.D.

Look at the shrine of the Bell of St. Patrick, which I presume dates
from about the eighth century, _i.e._ the time of Fredianus, and you
will see a fine collection of Comacine _intrecci_ or interlaced work
in sculpture. As for the crosses of Ireland, one may trace in them the
development of Comacine work, from the early Christian Roman style to
the mediæval Lombard.

The beautifully illustrated article in the _Studio_ for Aug. 15, 1898,
by J. Romilly Allen, F.S.A., shows the whole line. In the earliest
form of Irish cross, _i.e._ that where the cross and Christian symbols
are merely cut into the face of a slab of stone, such as in the cross
at Reask, Co. Kerry, we see precisely the primitive style of art shown
in the Catacombs. The "Gurmarc" stones have their prototype in the
earliest Longobardic carving, such as the _pluteus_ of Theodolinda's
first church at Monza. The smaller of the three inscribed circles has
an even more advanced Comacine _intreccio_ enclosed within the circle,
while the cross of Honelt at Llantwit Major (Fig. 5) has a splendid
Comacine knot such as one sees on every Longobardic church, placed
beneath a very Byzantine geometrical design in which circles, crosses,
triangles, and three-fold knots are marvellously intermingled. These
are all stones merely incised, and foreshadow the predilection of the
Irish converts for the symbolism of the time, the cross of Christ
within the unending circle of eternity. The next development shown by
Mr. Romilly Allen is the upright cross slab at St. Madoes in
Perthshire, where the cross and the circle are in distinct relief and
not merely incised. Here, instead of the circle enclosing the Greek
cross, it has become subordinate, and is placed behind the arms of a
Latin cross. In fact a complete Irish cross in relief. But how is it
adorned?--with splendid Comacine _intrecci_, and all the symbolism so
familiar to us in early Italian art. Here are the coiled serpent and
the dove above, with the four mystic beasts of the Apocalypse below,
two on each side of the stem of the cross; and the workmanship and
designs are literally identical with those of the sculptures on the
façades of the first church of S. Michele at Pavia, and S. Zeno at
Verona, and that of S. Pietro at Spoleto, all of the fifth and sixth
centuries. (Spoleto church was rebuilt in 1329, but the ancient
Lombard sculptures around the doorway were preserved.)

  [Illustration: DOOR OF THE CHURCH OF S. ZENO AT VERONA. A.D. 1139.
   _See page 166._]

By the ninth and tenth centuries the Irish cross had reached its full
development. It was no longer a sign on a slab, but a beautiful
upright sculptured cross, with a circle crowning it like a halo, and
suggesting the eternity of the human cross of our Saviour. And here
again the art is precisely that of the Italian sculptors. There was a
cross of earlier date than either the cross of King Flami at
Clonmacnoise, King's County, A.D. 904, or the cross of Mucreadach at
Monasterboice, Co. Louth, A.D. 924, in the Roman Forum, of which the
shape and ornaments are similar to both of them. The cross of SS.
Patrick and Columban at Kells has, too, all the marks of the Comacine
work in the eighth and ninth centuries, as one sees it in the oldest
churches at Como and Verona, at Toscanella and Spoleto. All these
things being considered, I think Irish archæologists would do well to
work up the undoubted connection of the early Irish missionaries with
Italy, and the influence their travels there had, not only on the
religion, but the art of Ireland. They might discover whether St.
Columban, when King Agilulf sheltered him at Pavia, took from the
artists then at work at the wondrous front of S. Michele, any ideas
which he caused to be reproduced in the crosses placed by him to
sanctify the open-air worship of his Irish converts; or whether he
took a few monkish _Magistri_ skilled in sculpture from his monastery
at Bobbio to carve those very crosses, and to build the first stone
churches, that now lie in ruins at the feet of the rugged old towers.


[123] See Article on the Round Towers in _St. Peter's Magazine_ for
May 1898.






   1. |1137| Magister Fredus or         | Built S. Maria Maggiore,
      |    |   Gufredus                 |    Bergamo.
   2. |1212| M. Adam of Arogno          | Chief architect of Trent
      |    |                            |   cathedral.
   3. |1274| M. Jacobus Porrata of      | Made the wheel window at
      |    |   Como                     |   Cremona.
   4. |1289| M. Bonino with Guglielmo   | Made the stairway on the
      |    |   da Campione              |   north of Cremona cathedral.
   5. |1329| M. Ugo or Ugone of         | Sculptured the tomb of Longhi
      |    |   Campione                 |   degli Alessandri at Bergamo.
   6. |1340| M. Giovanni, son of        | Built the Baptistery and façade
      |    |   Ugone                    |   of S. Maria Maggiore at
      |    |                            |   Bergamo.
   7. |    | M. Antonio, son of Jacopo} |
      |    |   da Castellazzo in      } | Worked under Giovanni di Ugo
      |    |   Val d'Intelvi          } |   in building Bellano church.
   8. |    | M. Comolo, son of M.     } |
      |    |   Gufredo da Asteno      } |
      |    |                            |
   9. |    | M. Nicolino, son of      } |
      |    |   Giovanni               } |
      |    |             } sons of    } | Helped Giovanni di Ugone in
  10. |1351| M. Antonio  } Cattaneo   } |   the façade at Bergamo.
  11. |    | M. Giovanni } of Campione} |
      |    |                            |
  12. |    | M. Niccola, son of       } |
      |    |   Giovanni               } | Worked at the church of St.
  13. |    | M. Pergandi, another     } |   Anthony of Padua in 1263.
      |    |   son of Ugone           } |
      |    |                            |
  14. |1360| M. Giovanni, son of        | Finished his father's work at
      |    |   Giovanni da Campione     |   Bergamo.


    1.  |1178| Magister Benedetto da   | Pulpit of Parma cathedral
        |    |   Antelamo              |  (1178). Baptistery of Parma
        |    |                         |  (1196).
  2 & 3.|1181| M. Martino and M. Otto  |
        |    |   Bono                  |
    4.  |1256| M. Giorgio da Iesi      | Fermo cathedral (1227). Iesi
        |    |                         |   (1237). Parma (1256).
    5.  |1280| M. Giovanni Bono da   } | Chief architect at Padua (1246),
        |    |   Bissone             } |   at Parma (1280).
    6.  |    | M. Guido              } | Worked with Giovanni Bono at
        |    |                       } |   Padua and Pistoja.
    7.  |    | M. Niccolao, son of   } |
        |    |   Giovanni            } | This group forms the link with
    8.  |    | M. Bernardino         } |   Pistoja and the Tuscan
    9.  |    | M. Johannes Benvenuti } |   schools.


    1.  |    |  Magister Graci         | Employed.
    2.  |1263|  M. Egidio, son of M. } |
        |    |    Graci              } |
    3.  |    |  M. Ubertino, son of  } |
        |    |    Lanfranco          } | All worked together at the
    4.  |    |  M. Nicola, son of    } |   church of St. Anthony.
        |    |    Giovanni           } |
    5.  |    |  M. Pergandi, son of  } |
        |    |    Ugone of Mantua    } |
        |    |                         |
    6.  |    |{ M. Zambono, or       } |
        |    |{   Giovanni           } | Father of M. Nicola. These
        |1264|{ Bono da Bissone, near} |   two form the link with Parma.
        |    |{   Como               } |
    7.  |1264|  M. Benedetto da Verona | Worked at Padua with Zambono.
        |    |                         |   At Verona he is
        |    |                         |   styled Benedetto da Antelamo.
        |    |                         |   Probably a descendant
        |    |                         |   of the one at Parma.

The rise of the Romanesque is the stepping-stone to the Renaissance of
Art in Italy. We need not enter at length into all the vexed questions
of how this Renaissance began, and which school was the link between
that and classic art, but a slight glance must be given to the
subject. Some make everything begin from Niccolò Pisano, as though he
suddenly sprang ancestorless out of the darkness, a full-fledged
artist. Some date the rise of art from the Byzantines in Aquileja and
Venice; others again from the union of the Normans with the Saracens
in Sicily.

First, as to Pisa. There are no records or signs of a school of art
indigenous to Pisa, before the building of the Duomo there. Both
Morrona[124] and Ridolfi, the historians of the respective cities,
have well searched the archives in both Pisa and Lucca, but can find
no single reference to any native artist before the Duomo of Pisa was
begun, or even of any Pisan who worked at that building as early as
the eleventh century. All the first architects seem to have been
imported. Morrona asserts that when the cathedral was begun "the most
famous _Masters_ (mark the word) from foreign (_stranieri_) parts,
assembled together to give their work to the building." The word
_stranieri_ is used by all old Italians not only as meaning
foreigners, but Italians from other provinces. Ridolfi, on his part,
affirms that at the beginning, the _Maestri di Como_ were the only
ones employed in building the chief churches at Lucca; adding
that--"Many of the works show certain symbols, monsters and foliage,
which were always a special characteristic of the Comacines, and a
sign of the Freemasonry founded and propagated by them."[125]

From this it may be deduced that during the eleventh and twelfth
centuries no indigenous Pisan school existed, and that the mediæval
buildings were of the Lombard type. Certainly the old church of S.
Pietro a Grado, three miles out of Pisa on the Leghorn road, which we
have described, is a standing witness to the presence of the Comacines
before this era. It still exists, the most perfect specimen extant of
a Lombard tri-apsidal church. Not a shaft, not an archlet is wanting.

As to Aquileja and Venice, Selvatico's[126] theory is that the Friuli
people, and those of Aquileja, being driven out in 450 by Attila, fled
to Grado (another Grado near Venice), thence spread to Torcello and
Murano, and then founded Venice. That they built the cathedrals on
those islands, and founded the Veneto-Oriental school. Did this native
school ever exist? asks Merzario, seeing that the church of Grado was
built by _artefici Franchi_, which might mean Freemasons, or French
builders, _i.e._ the Comacines under Charlemagne; and that those of
Santa Fosca and Murano were, judging by their style, of the same

The church of Torcello was rebuilt in the eleventh century by the
Bishop Orso Orseolo, and if it comes into the question at all, would
prove that the Lombard school had something to do with it then. In
spite of these two opposing opinions, it is certain that architecture
took a certain distinctive form in Venice; but it was a later
development which occurred after the twelfth century, and with which
the Greeks and Byzantines had little or nothing to do.

Selvatico, although the champion of the Veneto-Friuli theory, is
constrained almost in spite of his own arguments to own that the
Lombard architects had their part in early Venetian architecture,
saying--"Although the prevalent architecture of Venice from the
seventh to the thirteenth centuries consists of Byzantine and Roman
elements, yet after A.D. 1000 another element mingled with it, which
though partly the product of the two, nevertheless had in itself
elements so original as to be truly national. This is the art which
modern writers style Lombard, which, born first in Lombardy, diffused
itself over the greater part of Italy, and then crossing the Alps
expanded greatly in Northern Europe."[127]

The learned Domenico Salazari is at the head of the Siculo-Norman
theory, but the influence of the mingling of Oriental and Saracenic
architecture with the Norman and Lombard elements in Sicily are so
well known, and so fully acknowledged, that it is useless to go over
his prolix arguments.

It seems to me that each party is right as far as it goes. Venetian
architecture has Oriental elements in it; the Tuscan Renaissance truly
dates from Niccolò Pisano, and the Romanesque style was formed by the
marriage of north and south in Sicily; but none of their advocates
have got hold of the missing link in the development of each special
school from the old classical styles. And that missing link, if
anywhere, is to be looked for in the Comacines.

In the ninth century they went northward, and laid the seeds of the
round-arched Norman architecture at Dijon, under S. Guglielmo; a seed
which took root and developed. In the next century they appear to have
planted the seed of French Gothic at Aix-la-Chapelle, and of German
Gothic at Cologne and Spires, and these grew to be goodly trees. In
the eleventh century they again met their brethren of the north in
Sicily; and all worked together, adding to their own beauties those of
the rich and varied Saracenic style--and the Romanesque style was thus

The Venetian link dates about the same era. Fortunato, the Patriarch
of Aquileja, called in the Comacines about A.D. 828, and their
churches there show a groundwork of form and masonry quite
Romano-Lombard, with an ornamentation of which it is difficult to say
whether it be more Byzantine than Comacine, the two being so similar
in conception, and the distinctive difference in technical work being
at this distance of time not always distinguishable. Where the
Byzantines worked in sandstone, the sharp edges of their precise
cutting would have worn off during many centuries; and where the
Comacines worked in marble, their marvellous knots and interlacings
may look as clean-cut now as any time-worn Byzantine sculptures. In
any case the union of Lombard and Byzantine in Venice was the forging
of the link connecting Venetian art to the classic Roman.

The part the Comacines had in forging the connecting chain between the
Tuscan Renaissance and the classic Roman, and the artistic pedigree of
Niccolò Pisano, who is the first link in that branch of the threefold
chain, will be traced in a future chapter. We must now inquire how the
first Romano-Lombard style of the Comacines, from the sixth to the
tenth centuries, became changed into the florid Romanesque, in which
the same guild was building in all parts of Italy from the twelfth to
the fifteenth centuries. This development was possibly derived from
both Northern and Southern sources.

The close connection of the Comacine or Lombard architects with the
Patriarch of Aquileja in the seventh and eighth centuries brought them
in touch with the Greek artists of the earlier period, from whom they
learned much, especially in varying the plan of their circular
churches, and in richness of ornamentation. Their later emigrations to
the southern Lombard dukedoms, and their work in Sicily had a still
greater effect on them. It seemed to break up their fixed traditions
as a thaw breaks up ice. Before this time, every church must be of a
fixed plan; every apse round; every space of wall headed by a gallery
or arched brackets; every arch a pure half-circle on colonnettes. But
the varied arches of the Oriental-Saracenic style influenced their
fancy; they saw that art lay in variety, and learned that the pointed
arch was as strong as the round one, the ogival arch more graceful.
The Moorish arch never entirely took their fancy, though they
sometimes gave a slight Moorish curve to their stilted arches.

It must be remembered that the _Magistri_ of the Comacine Guild were
no longer of the same calibre as those mediæval men who built for the
Longobards. Those were the products of an age of slavery and
degeneration, who, lacking literature, clung to tradition, and could
only act according to the small portion of intellectual light
vouchsafed to the Dark Ages. They put stone and stone together,
precisely as their forefathers had taught them. In form they clung to
their ancient teacher, Vitruvius, and for their ornamentation to their
ancient pagan superstitions, grafted on a mystical Christianity. Yet,
as we have seen, they so far improved on these, as to build several
Basilican churches which might be called grand for the time, though
still holding close to traditional forms.

The Comacine after A.D. 1000 was a man beginning to feel his
intellect; the feudal system was breaking up, republics beginning to
be established, schools were opened, and man began to feel himself no
longer a vassal bound hand and foot, but a human being who might use
his own intellect for his own pleasure and good.

What wonder then, that the arts began to flourish, commerce to
increase, and riches to accrue in this joyous freedom?

And what wonder that man's thankfulness for freedom first took the
form of building churches for the glory of the God of the free?

The architects of the Masonic _loggie_ (lodges) who had held together
through the troublous times, became alive with new enthusiasms. They
compared their own buildings with others, and instead of varying the
principles of Vitruvius, to suit early Christian demands as
heretofore, they passed on to new and freer lines. Instead of solid
and rude strength, elegance of form and aspiring lines gave lightness
and beauty.

The starting-point of the change was, of course, the adoption of the
pointed arch, which at this time began to be substituted for the
circular one as giving greater strength with greater lightness.
"_Curvetur arcus ut fortior_," says an old chronicler of Subiaco.
According to their method of gradual development the Comacine Masters
did not blindly throw themselves into new forms. They went cautiously,
and first tried their acute arches in clerestories, and triforia, over
naves supported by the old Lombard arches of _sesto intiero_, as we
see in several churches of the Transition period. A little later they
mixed the two inextricably, as in Florence cathedral, where the
windows are pointed with Gothic tracery, the interior arches round and
Roman in form.

"The early Lombard architecture," said Cesare Cantù,[128] "was not an
order, nor a system, so much as a delirium. Balance and symmetry
utterly disregarded, no harmony of composition or taste, shameful
neglect in form proportion; to the perfect classic design which
satisfies the eye, they substituted incoherent and useless parts, with
frequently the weak placed to support the strong, in defiance of all
laws of statics. Columns--which used to be composed of a base, shaft,
and capital, in just proportions, supporting a well-adapted architrave
or frieze more or less fitly adorned, and a cornice which only added
beauty and strength--were exchanged for certain colonnettes, either
too short or too slight, knotted, spiral, and grouped so as to torture
the eye, and above the disproportioned and inharmonious abacus of the
capitals were placed the arches, which in a good style should rest on
the architrave. In fine, there was an endless _modanature_, ribs,
reliefs, and windows of elongated form and walls of extraordinary
height." In spite of Cantù's leanings to the classic, this tirade
shows the first indication of the change towards the Gothic, and it
only proves that the Comacine Masters did not take up new forms
borrowed entire from other nations, but assimilated what they saw in
other places, gradually developing their style.

To find the origin of the pointed arch would be difficult. Was it
evolved from the arching trees in the German forest? or was it from
the rich Arabian mosque or ancient Indian temple? or did the Comacines
find it, just as they acquired their Basilican forms, on Italian soil?

Germany, it is pretty well proved, got the seed of her glorious Gothic
from France or Italy, and nourished it right royally. But the pointed
arch is much more ancient than German Gothic. It is to be seen in the
tomb of Atreus at Mycenæ, in an Etruscan tomb at Tarquinii, and even
in the subterranean gallery at Antequere in Mexico.[129] The pointed
arches in the Mosque El Haram on Monte Morea date from Caliph Omar's
time, between 637 and 640. The Mosque of Amrou, with its curious
combination of pointed and horse-shoe arches, dates from 640.

The church of St. Francis at Assisi (1226) has generally been accepted
as the first instance in Italy, and it was soon followed in the design
for the church of S. Antonio at Padua five years later; but there are
two little churches annexed to the monastery of Subiaco on Monte
Telaso, which were built, so say the chroniclers, one in A.D. 981,
the other in 1053, in which some arches are round and others
acute.[130] Hope[131] quotes examples of this mixture of round and
acute arches in the ninth and tenth centuries at Cluny, 1093-1134; the
Abbey of Malmesbury in England, which is in Lombard style; St. Mark's
at Venice, 976-1071; Subiaco, 847, and others.

"But," as Selvatico remarks,[132] "these are isolated instances
determined by static reasons, and do not point to a system." The Arab
used the pointed arch as a decorative principle, as well as for
stability. As the style spread in Europe it got modified, some
countries keeping to the ancient type, and others changing its
proportions. So the Arab arch became in the eleventh century the germ
of the ogival arch, and in the twelfth expanded in the North into the
most glorious forms of ecclesiastical Gothic architecture.

The Comacines made their first steps towards a more florid style,
about the end of the eleventh century. The change, as in all such
growths of circumstance, was a gradual one. First, a little more
ornamentation, then a slight change in the forms of arches; next, a
less fixed ground-plan of the churches, a mingling of the Greek cross
with the square-walled Basilica. After these slight trials of their
wings, came flights of imagination, and endless variety of form and
ornamentation; that variety which could only spring from the ideas of
many minds, united in one work.

To see the earliest signs of a wider scheme of design we must go to
the region of Parma. Here in a little town called Borgo S.
Donnino--the ancient "Fidentia Julia"--about fifteen miles north of
Parma, is one of the finest early Romanesque churches in Italy. It
was a great place for pilgrimages in the Middle Ages, as it contained
the tomb of S. Domninus, who was martyred in the persecutions of
Maximian. Great miracles were worked at his shrine, and religious
fervour rose to such a height in the eleventh and twelfth centuries,
that the devotees collected money enough to build a church, which they
desired should be the finest and most majestic of those times.

The work was finished before 1195. An ancient document shows that the
_Rettori_ (civil governors) of Milan, Verona, Mantua, Modena, Brescia,
Faenza, Bologna, Reggio, Gravedone, Piacenza, and Padua, with their
suites, all met there in that year to form a league against Henry VI.,
son of Frederic Barbarossa, who seemed likely to carry on the
hostility of his father.[133] We have no documents to show who was the
architect of the fine Basilica of S. Donnino, but as the Comacines had
their _laborerium_ at Parma, and as the work is clearly and distinctly
Romanesque, we may believe the old authors who say that it arose _per
lo scarpello dei Comacini_.[134] If internal evidence is wanting, the
three lion portals of the ornate façade bear witness to the hand of
the Comacines of the Romanesque epoch.

Another of their buildings which shows a marked advance, was the
cathedral of Trent--the gate of Italy leading into Germany. This had
been built in the first Lombard style between 1124 and 1149, when it
was consecrated by the Patriarch of Aquileja. In 1207 the Bishop
Federigo Manga, Chancellor of the Emperor Otho IV., formed a design to
enlarge and almost rebuild it. He commissioned a _Magistro Comacino_
to superintend the works, as appears from an inscription in Gothic
letters on the tomb of that very _Magister_. Anglicized it would
run--"In the year of our Lord 1212, the last day of February, Master
Adam of Arogno, of the diocese and district of Como (_Magister Adam de
Arognio cumanæ diocesis et circuito_), began the work of this church
and constructed it. He with his sons and his _abbiatici_ (underlings)
built the interior and exterior of this church with its adjoining
parts. He and his sons lie below in this sepulchre. Pray for them."

Prof. Cipolla, in an article in _Arte e Storia di Firenze_, quotes a
poem written in 1309, in honour of the Duomo of Trent and of the
Comacine Master who had achieved so much with his potent and clever
hands (_Cumani Magistri qui potenti manu non inani complevit_).

The church has since then undergone several restorations, but in none
of them has its plan been materially altered. There is still the
octagonal dome, the circular apse at one end of the building, and the
narthex at the other. The façade still honestly follows the lines of
the roof, and has its little rows of pillared galleries across. The
outside of the apse shows the new tendency to Romanesque more than the
façade does; here arches and friezes in horizontal circles around it,
take the place of the perpendicular shafts, and the single row of
archlets on the top. It is more in the style of the thirteenth and
fourteenth-century Lucca churches. The arch of the north door rests on
lions, which we may take as the secret sign of Romanesque Comacine
work between the tenth and twelfth centuries, as the _intreccio_ or
Solomon's knot had been their mark in the Lombard period.

The church of S. Maria Maggiore at Bergamo is a valuable specimen not
only of this transition in its early stage, but of the culmination of
the Romanesque, two centuries later. An inscription on the arch of the
portico records that it was founded in the time of Pope Innocent II.
and King Lothair II., _i.e._ about 1135, Rogerius being then the
Bishop of Bergamo.[135] The builder's name is also recorded as
Magister Fredus, probably short for Godfredus. Magister Fredus is not
expressly said here to be of the Guild of Comacines, but as his work
was entirely in Lombard style, with a few slight indications of a
freer school, and as the architects who succeeded him were, as may be
proved by documents, Comacine Masters chiefly from Campione, we may
fairly make the hypothesis that he too was one of the guild. The
little that remains of his work is to be seen in the interior, where
the round arch still predominates, and in the exterior walls of the
apse, with its crown of arches and colonnettes.

The parts due to the later brethren of the guild are the rich
ornamentation of the two façades with their grand and characteristic
Comacine porches, and also the Baptistery. It was in 1340 that
Giovanni, son of Ugone (Big Hugh) of Campione, a _celebre scultore ed
architetto_, was commissioned to build this Baptistery. According to
the fixed laws of the Comacines he made it octagonal--the mystic sign
of the Trinity, being formed of a threefold triangle. Around it
entwine circles of arches and colonnettes, some lines having double
columns; these reach to the cornice of the roof, which cornice is
composed of reliefs allusive to the Sacrament of Baptism.

This work finished, Magister Giovanni went to Bellano on the east bank
of Lake Como, together with two of his brotherhood, the Magister
Antonio, son of the late Jacopo of Castellazzo da Peglio in the valley
of Intelvi, and Magister Comolo, son of the late Magister
Gufredo--probably a descendant of the Magister Fredus mentioned
above--of Asteno, near Porlezza, to rebuild the church there, which
had been ruined by age and repeated floods.[136] This church is in
pure Lombard style, and has a façade in black and white marble, with a
fine rose window, encircled with terra-cotta foliaged decorations.
After this Magister Giovanni of Campione was recalled to Bergamo to
adorn the façades of the church which Fredus had left in a rough state
200 years before. These two façades faced north and south. Strange to
say, the part opposite the altar has no door. In this new emprise
Giovanni brought as his assistants his son Nicolino, a relative named
Antonio (probably the one who had worked with him at Bellano), and a
certain Giovanni Cattaneo, also from Campione. Giovanni, who was head
architect, decided not to renovate the whole south façade facing the
Piazza on which he began first, but to concentrate his ornamentation
on a fine vestibule and doorway, to form a species of frontal. The
vestibule was finished in 1351, having taken only two years. On the
architrave he has himself chronicled it--"1351, m. Johannes de
Campillione C. B. (civis Bergomensis) fecit hoc opus." The whole front
seems to have taken three years more, as on the base of the horse on
which St. Alexander, patron saint of Bergamo, sits, may be
read--"Filius Ughi de Campillione fecit hoc opus 1355."

Good Master John of Campione did not long survive the execution of
this masterpiece, for on the north porch is inscribed--"1360. Magister
Johannes f. q. (filius quondam) Dom. Johannes de Campilio ...
(abrasion) fecit hoc opus in Christi nomine. Amen."

This north porch, though so nearly coeval, shows a much greater
advance in style. It is an eloquent proof of how architecture was
progressing at this time by the grafting on of different influences.
John the father, being older, kept more closely to his Lombard
traditions. John the son, being youthful and more open to conviction,
took up new ideas. He has kept the Lombard arch in his porch, the
moulding of which is extremely rich, and the lions of Judah duly
support his pillars, but he has filled in his arch with very Gothic
tracery, in trefoil arches, and over the Lombard columns of the upper
storey of the porch are arches and decorations decidedly Oriental in
appearance. It is about as good a specimen of the rich chaos of ideas
that marks a transition stage as one can get, and shows that John the
younger had been influenced by the Saracen-Norman influence in Sicily.

Fergusson, in his _Handbook of Architecture_, p. 790, gives an
illustration of this porch. The Campione family evidently came from a
race of sculptor-architects, for the church of S. Maria at Bergamo
contains a sculptural work of much merit for the time, by Ugo da
Campione, the father of Giovanni senior. It is the tomb of Cardinal
Longhi degli Alessandri, who died at Avignon in 1329. The almost
mediæval artist compares not unfavourably with a very modern master
from Como, Vincenzo Velada Ligurnetto, who in 1855 sculptured the
neighbouring tomb of Donizetti placed near it.

Coming down the valley of the Pò to Cremona, we find ourselves on a
scene of great Comacine industry. There is the Baptistery, dating
before A.D. 1000, and the Cathedral begun in 1100. These were both
works of the Lombard Masters; their style is identical, and over the
architrave of the great cathedral door may be read in the Gothic
characters used by them--

     Magister Jacobus Porrata.
     da Cumis, fecit hanc Rotam.

_Rotam_ refers to the wheel window, which is a remarkably fine one,
and is not, as some writers think, an illiterate mis-spelling of
_portam_ (door). The rose window is prior to the one which Jacopo or
Lapo, the so-called father of Arnolfo, placed in the façade of the
Duomo of Arezzo, and is even superior to it in richness of design. To
Jacobus Porrata is also attributed the principal entrance of Cremona
cathedral, with the statues of the four prophets beside it. Over the
architrave rises a species of porch, formed of little Lombard
galleries, fringing as it were the arch. Below are the usual
lion-supported pillars, the lions being carved in fine red marble. The
vestibule above is formed of pointed arches, on each of which a lion
crouches to sustain the finishing _loggia_. The Comacine Masters seem
to have formed a school and _laborerium_ at Cremona, for among the
archives of the Duomo a deed has been found entitled _laborerio_, of
the year 1289. It was drawn up by the notary Degoldo Malatesta on
December 12 of that year, and on the part of the Revdo. P.
Cozzaconte, Bishop of Cremona, and the monk Ubertini, director and
treasurer to the works of the Duomo, making a contract with Bonino and
Guglielmo da Campione to build a stone stairway on the north of the
cathedral towards S. Nicolò, etc. etc. The stairs still exist, with
remains of some little turrets which formed part of the design.

   A.D. 1178.
   _See page 187._]

At Parma we have also precise data, and a name carven in stone. The
cathedral was begun in 1059, four years before that of Pisa. It was
finished by 1106, when Pope Pasquale II. consecrated it, the great
Countess Matilda being present. In 1117 a part of it fell in an
earthquake, and the Bishop Bernardo apportioned the receipts of
several taxes to the rebuilding. Frederic Barbarossa in 1162 confirmed
this disposition of the taxes and the work was continued. The
_laborerium_ of the Comacines at Parma was at different times under
two of their chief sculptor-architects, Benedetto da Antelamo being
master of the lodge in 1178, and Giovanni Bono of Bissone in 1281.
Benedetto sculptured the now ancient pulpit of the cathedral, which
was supported on four columns, and to which the relief of the
Crucifixion, signed by him, belonged. It is now in the third chapel on
the right. He also designed and erected the Baptistery, which, more
than any building of the time, shows an originality of idea quite
remarkable. It is built entirely of white marble, is of course
octagonal, that is _de règle_, and is surrounded by rows of little
pillared galleries, but in these he has made his colonnettes
classical, and has left out the arches entirely, except in the upper
one, substituting a solid flat marble entablature for them. The lower
part only has a circular arch in each of the eight sides. The arches
of the doorways are very deep, and richly sculptured. One has four
dark marble pillars on each side of the door, of which the lintels and
architrave are richly carved in reliefs. The north door has a Nativity
of Christ in the lunette, and a story of John the Baptist beneath it.
The west portal shows a realistic Last Judgment above, and on the
sides the seven ages of man, and Christ performing the seven works of
mercy. On the south door is the allegory of Death from the mediæval
religious romance of _Barlaam and Josaphat_. The arches between the
doors are filled in with niches containing statues supported on black
marble Corinthian columns.

All round the building above the base is a frieze of the real old
animal myths and symbols, such as the Comacines of two or three
centuries earlier delighted in. The march of the times had now
substituted actual representations of scriptural subjects, instead of
mere symbols of dark mysteries, but the _Magister_ could not all at
once leave behind him the old emblems which had served his guild for
centuries in the way of ornamentation. The building is unique, and
shows daring independent thought at a time when independence was most

Fergusson, however, blames the false principles of design. He says the
four upper storeys are only built to conceal a dome, which is covered
by a flat wooden roof. The roof seen from above seems to be a flat
tiled roof, and it has a pretty solid bell-turret in the centre. The
little arches forming the upper range are slightly pointed. This
Baptistery, as well as the pulpit in the Duomo, bears the signature of
the builder and sculptor, and the date 1196.

     "Bis binis demptis annis de mille ducentis.
     Incepit dictus opus hoc sculptor Benedictus."[137]

Val d'Antelamo, the native place of Benedictus, is a valley near Lago
Maggiore towards Laveno. It seems probable that a branch school or
lodge of the Comacines existed here, of which Benedetto was at this
epoch at the head,[138] and gave the name to his pupils. They must
have emigrated like other branches of the guild, for in the ancient
statutes of Genoa we find several mentions of experts in architecture,
called _Magistri da Antelamo_, who were called in by the city
magistrates, when any building work had to be valued or judged.[139]

As early as 1181 in the archives of S. Giorgio, one finds the names
Martino and Ottoboni, Magistri Antelami, and as late as Nov. 27, 1855,
a sentence was given at the Collegio dei Giudici at Genoa by a Maestro
Anteramo. The substitution of r for l is to this day a very common
error among Italians.

In 1161 a squadron of Masters from Lombardy was called to renovate the
cathedral of Faenza, which was much ruined. These Masters accepted,
and showed themselves most proficient. So says an old writer quoted by
Merzario, but whether these very clever architects were the same
Antelami branch who worked at Parma cannot be decided.[140] A later
Comacine Master at Parma, whose name has come down to us, is Giovanni
Bono of Bissone, a little village between Como and Lugano. The grand
vestibule of the principal door of Parma cathedral, with its
lion-supported columns, its bands of colonnettes and its rich
sculpture, was designed by him. In a Gothic inscription over the door
deciphered by Sig. Pezzana, we learn that the lions were made by
Giovanni Bono da Bissone in 1280, at the time when Guido, Niccolao,
Bernardino, and Benvenuti worked in the _laborerium_.[141]

This inscription, for which I am indebted to Canonico Pietro
Tonarelli, is especially valuable, not only in fixing the epoch of
Giovanni Buono da Bissoni's work, but as proof of the organization of
the lodge and the brotherhood of its members. The word _fratrum_
certainly implies that the _laborerium_ was in the hands of a guild.
The Canonico Tonarelli writes in a letter from Parma, that in an
estimate in the archives of the Chapter, dated 1354, the _Fabbriceria_
was denominated _Domus laborerii seu fabricæ ... majoris Ecclesiæ_,
and that the administrators were called _fratres de Laborerio_. In
Tuscany they were called _Operai_, and the office of administrator was
the _Opera del Duomo_. The four names of the _fratres_, too, have a
significance when read in the light I have since found thrown on the
organization by the archives of the _Opere_ in Siena and Florence. In
those lodges one perceives plainly that the administration of the
lodge was placed under four persons, of whom two were Masters of the
guild, and two were influential persons of the city, _i.e._ half the
council of administration gave the votes of the architects employed,
and the other half those of the patrons who employed them. That the
same rule held in this earlier lodge at Parma is confirmed by the fact
that Niccolao and Benvenuti are found working together with Giovanni
Buono at Pistoja in 1270.[142]

Sometimes a single name stands out among the file of Comacines, and
one finds several well-known buildings that have emanated from one
mind. Such a Master was Magister Giorgio of Jesi, near Como. His name
is graven in the stones of many a church. At Fermo on the Adriatic, a
"sumptuous" cathedral was built in 1227; a certain Bartolommeo
Mansionarius being the patron. On the left south door was a slab with
the inscription--"A.D. MCCXXVII Bartolomeus Mansionarius Hoc opus
fieri fecit Per Manus Magistri Georgii de Episcopatu Com".... That the
mutilated word is Como we prove by a similar inscription on the
cathedral at Jesi (the ancient Æsis where the Emperor Frederick II.,
grandson of Barbarossa, was born). The ancient cathedral of S.
Septimus, a truly Lombard building, still exists in part. Here the
inscription runs--"A.D. MCCXXXVII tempore D. Gregorii Papae domini
Federici Imperatoris, et domini Severini. episcope. æsini. Magister
Georgius de Cumo civis æsinus fecit hoc opus."

Here we get the city as well as the bishopric to which Magister
Giorgius belonged. He was a citizen of Jesi in the diocese of Como,
and a qualified member of the higher rank of the Comacine Guild. In
the little town of Penna in the same province, where the church was
ruined in an earthquake, an ancient stone was found with the following
inscription in old Latin--"In the name of God. Amen. This work was
commenced in the time of the Priest Gualtieri, and completed in that
of the Priest Grazia, by Master George of Jesi in the year 1256." By
these stones we find that Master George worked in the province of
Piceno for thirty years, between Fermo, Jesi, and Penna. To him is
attributed the ancient communal palace of Jesi which was rebuilt in
the fifteenth century by other Comacine Masters.


[124] _Pisa illustrata nelle Arti del Disegno._

[125] Professor Ridolfi, _L' Arte in Lucca_, p. 74, _et seq._

[126] Sull' Architettura e sulla Scultura in Venezia nel medio evo
sino ai nostri giorni. _Studi di P. Selvatico_, cap. ii. p. 48.

[127] Selvatico, _Storia della Scultura_, Lib. II. cap. ii.

[128] _Storia di Como_, vol. i. p. 537.

[129] In a work by Luigi Mazara (_Temple antédiluvien découvert dans
l'île de Calypso_, Paris 1872) there are two engravings of gateways,
one a subterranean one at Alatri in Latium, which is said to have been
the work of Saturn, and is called the Porta Sanguinaria; the other of
Cyclopean architecture was also in Latium, and called Porta Acuminata;
both of them are pointed arches. This would carry the invention back
to 2000 B.C. Many of the subterranean aqueducts of Rome have acute
arches for purposes of strength.

[130] Seroux, _Histoire de l'art par les monuments_, p. ii. Paris.

[131] Hope, _Storia dell' Architettura_, cap. xxxiii.

[132] Selvatico, _Sull' architettura e scultura in Venezia dal medio
evo_, p. 90. Venezia, 1874.

[133] Affò, _Storia di Parma_, tomo iii. p. 14.

[134] See _Borgo S. Donnino e suo Santuario_, pp. 59 and 112, by an
anonymous author.

[135] "Dicta ecclesia fundata fuit anno Dominicæ Incarnationis
millesimo centesimo III gesimo septimo sub dom Papa Innocentio II.,
sub Episcopo Rogerio, Regnante Rege Lothario, per Magistrum
Fredum."--_Storia della Città e Chièsa di Bergamo_, Tomo III. lib. x.

[136] The contract, which is preserved in the archives of Bellano, is
dated July 18, 1348--"Indictione prima in burgo Bellano, Magister
Johannes filius quondam Magistri Ugonis de Campilione, et Magister
Antonius filius quondam Jacobi de Castelatio de Pelo Vallis Intelvi,
et Magister Comolus filius quondam Magistri Gufredi de Hosteno plebis
Porleciae, qui omnes tres magistri de muro et lignamine laboraverunt
ad laborem Ecclesiæ novæ," etc.

[137] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. iv. p. 145.

[138] Documents exist which mention it in King Luitprand's time, A.D.
713, and in that of the Emperor Otho, 989.

[139] Arbitrio duorum magistrorum antelami seu fabricorum murariorum
eligendorum per magistratus.--Quoted by Merzario, Vol. I. chap. iv. p.

[140] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. v. p. 171.

[141] _Storia di Parma_, tom i. Appendix, p. 43. "In mille ducto
octuago p. mo indictione, nona facti fuere leones per Magistrum ianne
bonum d. bixono et tpore fratrum guidi, nicolay, bnardini et bevenuti
di Laborerio."

[142] This Giambono or Giovanni Buono was, I believe, the founder of
the Lodge at Pistoja, or at least Master of it in about 1260. His
works in Tuscany are many and important, as will be seen when the
Tuscan link is under consideration.




   1. |  1050   | Magister Ersati di Ligorno |
      |         |                            |
   2. |  1099   | M. Lanfranco, son of       | Chief architect at Modena in
      |         | Ersati                     | 1099. His son Ubertino
      |         |                            | forms a link with Padua,
      |         |                            | where he worked at the
      |         |                            | church of S. Antonio in
      |         |                            | 1263.
   3. |  1130   | M. Guglielmo or Vigilelmo }| Sculptors on the façades of
   4. |         | M. Ambroxius, his son     }| Modena and Ferrara
   5. |         | M. Nicolaus               }| cathedrals.
      |         |                            |
      |         |                            |{ Assist in the façade of
      |         |                            |{ Ferrara cathedral. There
   6. |  12th   | M. Meo di Cecco, and       |{ was a Marco di Frixone da
   7. | century | M. Antonio di Frix of Como |{ Campione at Milan a century
      |         |                            |{ later in 1300, probably a
      |         |                            |{ descendant of this one.
      |         |                            |
   8. |  1209   | M. Anselmo da Campione     | Sculptured the porch of
      |         |                            | Modena cathedral; was chief
      |         |                            | architect in 1181.
      |         |                            |
   9. |  1244   | M. Ottaccio } Sons of      | The office of head architect
      |         |             } Anselmo da   | was made hereditary in the
      |         |             } Campione,    | family.
  10. |         | M. Alberto  } who was      |
      |         |             } also called  | Jacopo is supposed to be the
  11. |         | M. Jacopo   } Anselmo      | Jacopo Tedesco, reputed
      |         |             } Tedesco.     | father of Arnolfo.
      |         |                            |
  12. |    "    | M. Arrigo, son of M.       | Arrigo was head architect in
      |         | Ottaccio                   | 1244.
      |         |                            |
  13. |  1322   | M. Enrico, grandson of M.  | Built the tower and
      |         | Arrigo                     | sculptured the pulpit at
      |         |                            | Modena.

At Modena, which was once a prosperous Roman colony, and then an
independent commune, we find a most interesting family of Comacines,
who for more than two centuries worked at the cathedral there, son
succeeding father, and nephews following their uncles as architects.
The building of a worthy church was the first thought of the
newly-made commune in 1099. In Muratori's copy of the _Acts of the
translation of the body of S. Gemignano to Modena_, we read--"So then,
in the year 1099, the inhabitants of the said city began to demand
where they could find an architect for such a work, a builder for such
a church; and at length, by the grace of God, a certain man named
Lanfranco, a marvellous architect, was found, under the counsels of
whom the foundations of the Basilica were laid."[143]

Lanfranco is a name very frequent in Lombardy, but this man, probably
from his already acquired fame, was the same Magister Lanfrancus
filius Dom. Ersatii de Livurno (Ligurno), who built the cloister of
Voltorre, near Lake Varese, in the neighbourhood of the Antelami.[144]
The fact remains that all his successors were Comacines, and from
places near Ligurno. There is also a similarity of style between the
cloister at Voltorre, and the older parts of S. Gemignano at Modena,
both showing a grafting of Gothic on the Romano-Lombard style. A
curious document exists, a kind of contract, quoted by Tiraboschi in
his _Codice Diplomatico_ in the Appendix to the historical memorials
of the building of the cathedral, long after Lanfranco's part was
done. It runs, when Anglicized--"In the name of Christ, in the year
of His nativity, 1244, in the second indiction, on the day of Mercury
(Wednesday), the last of the month of November. It has been recorded
that between Ser Alberto, once treasurer to the Opera et Fabbrica, and
the late Master Anselmo da Campione in the episcopate of Como
(_Magistrum Anselmum de Campilione, Episcopatus Cumani_), a contract
was made, by which the said Magister and his heirs _in perpetuo_
should work at the said church of Modena, and either the said Master,
or any other Master, his descendant, should receive every day, six
imperials in the days of May, June, July, and August, but five
imperials only in those of the other months, for their recompense and
their work. Ser Ubaldino, now Administrator of the said _Fabbriceria_,
seeing and considering that the said stipend or remuneration does not
seem sufficient according to the course of these and succeeding times,
has deliberated and taken counsel with the venerable Bishop Signor
Alberto, and with Ser Giovanni, Archpriest of Modena, at the instance
and petition of Magister Arrigo (Henry), son of Magister Ottaccio, who
was the son of Anselmo aforesaid; and in the presence of the
aforementioned Signori, Bishop, and Archpriest, and of the subscribing
witnesses, promises and agrees that to the said Magister Arrigo, for
himself and his sons and heirs, and for Magister Alberto and Magister
Jacopo, his paternal uncles (_patruis suis_), and the sons and heirs
of the same, shall be given over and above to them, and to their said
sons, or successors, who shall be masters in that art (_qui magistri
fuerint hujus artis_), eight imperials for each day they work, from
the calends of April to the calends of October. In the days of the
remaining months in which they shall have worked at the will of the
Administrator of the building, they should, and shall have, only six
imperials, receiving nevertheless their food from the said lodge, not
only on festal days, but on all others, as they have from the
beginning been accustomed to have. And if at the will of the said
Administrator they shall bring other competent Masters necessary to
the said works, these shall receive seven imperials for each day, from
the said calends of April to those of October, but in other months
only five imperials per diem."

This deed was drawn up in the Canonica of Modena, and duly signed by

Tracing the predecessors of Arrigo of Campione, father and
grandfather, back from 1244, we come very near the time of the first
Lanfranco; and following his descendants from Arrigo, head architect
in 1244, to his grandson, who finished the tower of the Dome,[145] and
made the marble pulpit in the cathedral in 1322, we get a family line
of builders lasting unbroken for nearly two hundred years. There still
exists an inscription in bad Latin on the cornice of the pulpit, which
says that Tomasino di Giovanni, treasurer of the _Fabbriceria_, S.
Gemignano, had the pulpit carved, and the tower built by Arrigo or
Enrico, the Campionese sculptor (_actibus Henrici sculptoris
campionensis_). It would be difficult now to assign his due share to
each of this long line of master-builders; but the Italian critic,
Marchese Ricci, gives Lanfranco the credit of the interior, which is
in pure Romano-Lombard style, with two aisles and a nave. The nave is
much higher than the aisles, and is supported on columns with high
Corinthian capitals from some ancient Roman temple. Lanfranco has
given a clumsier Lombard air to them by a very large abacus. The crypt
is supported on sixty columns, the capitals of which are all Lombard,
and of endless variety of form and sculpture. In the centre is the ark
(tomb) of S. Gemignano. The wall of the façade, with its little
pillared gallery, is also of Lanfranco's time.

The porch, with its knotted pillars supported on lions, is adjudged by
Ricci to be the work of Anselmo of Campione in 1209. The sculpture on
the façade by Nicolaus and Guglielmo is said to date from early in the
twelfth century, and probably belonged to Lanfranco's design before
Anselmo put this doorway. They are to our eyes most naïve Bible
stories told in rude sculpture--the one side representing the
Creation, the other the first men as far as Noah. To contemporary
eyes, however, they were great works, for an old grandiloquent low
Latin inscription on the façade says--"Inter scultores quanto sis
dignus honore Claret scultura nunc Viligelme tua." "Worthy of honour
art thou among sculptors. So shines, O William, this thy sculpture."
Marchese Ricci, from the peculiar spelling of Guglielmo, thinks that
he might have been a German, but as in the Ferrara inscription he is
spelt in the Italian way, I think the Viligelme may be only one of
those queer reversals of consonants so common in illiterate Italians.
If a poor Florentine has a son named Arturo, he will surely call him
Alturo, or if Alfredo, he will always be Arfledo. In any way we can
descry in this artist, as in many others of his age, the forerunner of
Niccolò Pisano, and see in the art of Niccolò only a link in
development, not a new art entirely. To Nicolaus and Guglielmo are
also attributed the sculptures in the choir, representing the Passion.
We shall find them again at Ferrara.

We see, then, that the family of Anselmo, hereditary sculptors and
architects of Modena, were certainly the founders of the great school
of the Campionese, which lasted some centuries, and to whose hands may
be attributed nearly all the great churches in North Italy. The
schools, _laborerium_, and _fabbricerie_ of Modena furnish another
prototype of the threefold organization, which becomes so distinct in
the Opera of Florence and the Lodges of Venice, Siena, and Orvieto.
Tiraboschi publishes a notarial Act, dated January 7, 1261, which
speaks of the _laborerium_ near the Duomo, where the stones for the
fabric were carved; and that there was a covered way between the
church and this building which must not be removed or changed.

Gerolamo Calvi, in his _Matteo de Campione, architetto e scultore_,
says that nearly all the architecture and sculpture executed in and
around Milan in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries may be
attributed to the Campionesi. He instances the Sala della Ragione at
Padua, with its enormous span of roof, its characteristic arcades and
galleries, and the Loggia degli Assi, or Loggia del Consiglio, once
the Podestà's palace; the church of S. Agostino at Bergamo, built by
Ugo da Campione and his son Giovanni, the castle of the Visconti at
Pavia, and many others. Campione, though a place of importance in
Roman times, and cited in Carlovingian documents, is now only a
village on the side of a mountain, near Val d'Intelvi, containing 500
inhabitants. Calvi writes of it that from the earliest times before
the renaissance of art,[146] the men of Campione dedicated themselves
to building and sculpture, and diffused themselves throughout the
north of Italy, working rudely at first, but gaining in style and
experience till they produced great works worthy of eternal fame.

It seems probable that in this school we have a link with Florence.
The Jacopo de Campione, who was mentioned in 1244 as uncle of the
petitioner Arrigo, is named in other documents as a Campionese, is
thought by Merzario and other authors to be that famous architect,
Jacopo il Tedesco--or the Lombard, who was for centuries taken with
certainty to be the father of Arnolfo. We shall speak of his pedigree
in another chapter.

The builders of the Duomo of Ferrara were decidedly connected with the
_laborerium_ at Modena, both lodges originating from the Campione
school. The façade has the usual three perpendicular divisions formed
by means of chiselled shafts, but each division is divided
horizontally into three levels, each one enriched with Lombard
galleries. Besides these is a wealth of ornamentation, figures,
reliefs, _trafori_ (open work), and foliage of the most fantastic
kind. This and the framework of the church are all that remain of the
Comacine work, excepting the vestibule, which has all their signs on
it. Four columns resting on four red marble lions support it; one of
them guards a lamb, and another has a serpent beneath its paw. Here we
have still the Comacine mysticism: the lion of Judah guarding the
Paschal Lamb, and one of the House of Judah crushing the serpent. Over
the porch are more sculptures, and an arched vestibule; over that a
kind of Gothic gable, and above the gable a rose window. The whole
speaks eloquently of its kinship with the churches of Verona, Parma,
and Bergamo. Tradition says the interior and façade were built not
much later than 1103. The inscription over the door runs--

"Il mille cento trempta nato. Fo questo templo a Zorzi (Giorgio)
consacrato. Fo Nicolao scultore, e Ghelmo fo lo auctore." These are
evidently the same Guglielmo and Nicolao who sculptured Lanfranco's
front at Modena. Guglielmo was the leading man, and made the design
(_auctore_); Nicolaus chiefly executed it.

But these two were not the only Comacines employed at Ferrara; a MS.
copy of an ancient inscription on some old reliefs in the front of the
church of St. George, records the names of Meo and Antonio of Como.
"Da Meo di Checco, e da Antonio di Frix. da Como."[147]

   _See page 198._]

Before the middle of the thirteenth century, Padua had become the
shrine of a miraculous saint. St. Anthony had come over from Lisbon in
1220, and founded at Padua a new order of monks, called _Minori
Conventuali_, under similar rules to the Franciscans. St. Anthony
attracted great crowds of people by his preaching and miracles, and at
his death in 1231 he was canonized, and his devotees desired to build
a beautiful church over his tomb. The first attempt failed from not
having means to pay a good architect, or competent builders, and in
1265 the commune set to work to remedy their mistake. They assigned
four thousand lire a year to the re-edification, until such time as
the church should be completed. By 1307 all was complete except the
cupola, which was added a century later. Vasari attributes the design
to Niccolò Pisano; but his able commentator, Milanesi, who lived all
his life studying archives, asserts that neither document,
inscription, nor tradition remain to prove Niccolò's connection with
Padua, while the style of the building is utterly unlike the edifices
known to be his.

Some documents in the archives of Padua, unearthed by Padre Gonzali,
prove that in 1263, on May 11, there were working in the church as
builders, Egidio, son of Magister Gracii; Ubertino, son of Lanfranco;
Niccola, son of Giovanni; and Pergandi, son of Ugone of Mantua; and
that, in 1264, a Zambono of Como and a Benedetto of Verona, who lived
in the district of Rovina, are recorded as builders. There is no
record of the architect who designed the church; but judging from the
Moorish innovations of style it was very probably either planned by
the monks, or designed by them. St. Anthony was a Portuguese. On his
way here he would have passed through Spain, and may have been
attracted by the Moorish architecture. He may have even brought a
drawing or two of some many-domed building, and have given them to the
Lombard architects to work from. Probably some of his monks were--like
many Franciscans and Dominicans--members of the Guild of Freemasons,
and so trained in the science of architecture.

In any case, the buildings at Padua are neither true Lombard nor true
Gothic, and not even Oriental, but a mixture of all three. The Lombard
has partly had his way in the façade, where the upper part is full of
galleries and archlets; the lover of the new Gothic arches has put his
mark on the lower part of the façade; and the monks, who remembered
the native land of their saint, have put the seven domes and minarets;
the domes, however, were beyond the Comacines of that time, and were
not placed till the fifteenth century, when it is to be imagined that
the Renaissance doorway and various pilasters and adjuncts were added.
Altogether, for a church where Como Masters undoubtedly worked, St.
Anthony of Padua is the most unlike their style. They seem to have
taken so little interest in the outlandish plan, that they did not
sanctify it by a bit of their biblical sculpture.

That monks at that era really did occupy themselves in architecture,
we have consistent proofs in the monkish builders of fine churches;
and that when they followed this branch, they were probably trained
in, and became members of, the great Masonic Guild, is also indicated
by the close connection between the _Magistri-frati_ and the secular
_Magistri_. In the transactions of the guild, monks were frequently
called into council by the _Opera_ or _Fabbriceria_; and they often
worked at their churches in conjunction with the secular members.[148]
In the church of S. Francesco at Lodi is an interesting old
painting, representing S. Bernardino directing a group of monks
engaged in building a convent. Beneath it is written--"Qualiter in
ædificatione monasterii Bernardinus fratres hortatus fuerit."[149]

   _See page 199._]

It is through this order at Padua that the link with Germany became
strengthened. Albertus Magnus was a Dominican, born in Bavaria. He
came to Padua for his studies in theology and the exact sciences,
which evidently included the science of building. Merzario says that
up to 1223 he taught publicly in Padua, and wrote a work on

Don Vincenzo Rossi, Prior of Settignano, however, writes to me, I
believe on the authority of Montalembert, that Albertus Magnus
attended the university at Padua, and some think also that at Pavia,
but only as a student. He held a _cattedra_ at Cologne, where St.
Thomas of Aquinas was his pupil.[151]

The name of Albertus Magnus is much connected with the Freemasonry of
Germany; and soon after his stay in Padua we find Comacine Masters
working in Germany. Some German _savant_ might work out this clue, and
see if he did not start, or aid in establishing, a lodge at Cologne,
for all authors agree that the architectural _Maestranze_ (as the
Italians called the mixed clerical and lay Masonic Guilds) passed over
the Alps from Italy, and flourished greatly in northern cities, such
as Strasburg, Zurich, Cologne, etc., etc.

In the twelfth century the beautiful church and monastery of
Chiaravalle, near Milan, were erected by the Campionese Masters, on
the commission of the noble family of Archinto of Milan. It is a fine
specimen of Italian Gothic, with the dome peculiar to that style.

The Visconti of Milan were large patrons of the Campionese school. The
fine castle at Pavia, built in the time of Galeazzo II., shows by its
style the Comacine hand. It has been assigned to Niccola Sella from
Arezzo and Bernardo of Venice, but, as Merzario shows, these men only
came to Pavia thirty years after it was finished.

The first stone was laid on March 27, 1360. The archives have been
searched in vain to find the architect's name: it is, however, proved
that Bonino da Campione was in Pavia in 1362, working at the Area di
S. Agostino, so it is probable that some of his brethren of the
Campionese school were also employed by Galeazzo. Unluckily, these are
so individually sunk in the company, that one rarely gets a prominent

Merzario, quoting other writers, attributes to the Campionesi that
sepulchral monument of Beatrice della Scala, now in the church of S.
Maria at Milan; the mausoleum of Stefano Visconti in S. Eustorgio, and
that of Azzo, son of Galeazzo I.; but beyond a tradition that Bonino
da Campione sculptured the last, there is no positive proof.[152]

Great conjectures have been made as to the real author of the Arca di
Agostino at Pavia. Vasari says--"La quale è di mano _secondo che a me
pare_ di Agnolo e Agostino, scultori senesi." His expression, "As it
seems to me," is not very decisive proof, truly. Cicognara is not more
exact. He "wonders that this most grand and magnificent work is not
more famous than it is--and thinks it shows the style of the Sienese
brothers, but opines it is more likely to be by some pupil of theirs,
if it is not by Pietro Paolo and Jacobello the Venetians." This is
vague with a vengeance. Merzario, however, proves that there are no
documents to show that the Sienese brother sculptors ever came to
Pavia, and asserts that the style of the Arca is not at all Venetian.

The learned Difendente Sacchi[153] brings more logic and less
imagination to bear on the point. The inscription on the monument
proves that it was begun in 1362, placed in 1365, and that the
accessory ornamentation was finished in 1370. The books of the
administration show that the sums paid for its construction amounted
in all to seventy-two thousand _lire italiane_.

As no artist in especial is named as having received this sum, I
should myself imagine that as usual several Masters of the guild
worked at it, but that one was _capo maestro_, and drew the design.
Comparing it with the monument of Can della Scala at Verona, which is
a certified work of Bonino da Campione, Sacchi argues that he was the
designer and sculptor of this Arca. The style in both is semi-Gothic,
the arches following the same curve and resting on columns; the
friezes and ornaments are so much alike as to be in some parts
identical in design; the crown of pyramids and _cupolini_ which
finishes the monument on the top, the form of the pinnacles, and their
floriations are more than similar.

The Arca di S. Agostino is, however, the more elaborate. It has
ninety-five statues in its niches, not counting statuettes. One may
count nearly three hundred distinct works of sculpture in the
composition. (Would not this redundancy prove it the work of a school
rather than one hand?) Sacchi justly observes that if Can Scaliger
confided to Bonino the commission for his monument, it must have been
because he had seen proofs of his skill; and where could this have
been more probable than in the Arca at Milan?

A suggestive proof of the Arca di S. Agostino being the joint work of
the Comacine Guild, is suggested by Merzario.[154] Over the colonnade
of the Arca are twelve statues, but in front of these stand the
_Quattro Santi Coronati_, the four artist martyrs. One of these is
represented stooping to examine the base of a pillar; another trying
the diminution of a column with the "T" square, and a third
measures a reversed capital, and holds a scroll on which is written in
Gothic letters, _Quatuor Coronatorum_; the fourth is working with
hammer and chisel.

Now these four saints, being the special patrons of the Comacine
Guild, would have little significance to any other artists.

The sepulchre of Can Signorio de Scaliger in Verona was begun in his
lifetime, and on his own commission, and cost 10,000 gold florins. He
died in 1375, so it must date slightly prior to that. _Bonino de
Campiglione Mediolanensis_ has signed his name in marble on the
frieze. It is a fine specimen of Gothic ornamentation, at the
culmination of the Campionese school.

There were also earlier works of Bonino's at Cremona; one a sepulchre
to Folchino de Schicci, a jurisconsult, in the chapel of St. Catherine
in the Duomo, beautifully worked with friezes, etc., in bas-reliefs.
It is signed in Gothic characters--

     "Hoc sepulcrum est nobilis et
     Egregii militis et juris periti
     D Folchini de Schiciis qui
     obiit anno D,MCCCLVII
     Die Julii et heredum ejus
     Justitia, Temperantia Fortitudo Prudentia
     Magis. Bonino de Campilione me fec."[155]

   _See page 204._]

The other one is the urn for the relics of S. Omobono, protector of
Cremona. Unfortunately the urn, which is said to have been very rich
and beautifully worked, has been ruined and dispersed. One slab
only remains, bearing the inscription, _Magister Boninus de Campilione
me fecit_, with the date, June 25, 1357. So Can Scaliger would have
had also other famous monumental works to recommend his choice of


[143] "Anno itaque MXCIX ab incolis præfatæ urbis quæstum est ubi
tanti operis designator, ubi talis structuræ edificator invenire
posset: et tandem Dei gratia inventus est vir quidam nomine Lanfrancus
mirabilis ædificator, cujus concilio indicatum est ejus basilicæ
fundamentum."--From Muratori, quoted by Merzario, _I Maestri
Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. iv. p. 168.

[144] See chapter headed "Troublous Times."

[145] This tower, which is almost as light and elegant as that of
Giotto in Florence, became historically famous in the wars between
Modena and Bologna in 1325, when the famous Secchia was hidden
there--the subject of that curious heroi-comic poem _La Secchia

[146] Calvi, _Notizie sulla vita e sulle opere dei principali
architetti, pittori e scultori_, etc., vol. i. p. 39.

[147] Frix is an abbreviation of Frixones, a name we find two
centuries later in an artist of the same guild, working at Milan
cathedral, Marco da Frixone a Campione. Another Frix worked at Ferrara
a century later.

[148] See chapter on "The Florentine Lodge."

[149] _Artisti Lombardi del Secolo XV_, di Micheli Caffi.

[150] _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. iv. p. 161.

[151] The silence of that learned St. Thomas was so proverbial that
his fellow-students called him the "Bue muto" (the dumb bull). Apropos
of this, Albertus Magnus made his famous witty prophecy--"Tomaso may
be a dumb bull, but the day will come when his bellowing will be heard
throughout the world."

[152] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. viii. p. 243.

[153] Difendente Sacchi, _L' arca di S. Agostina illustrata_, etc.

[154] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. viii. p. 248.

[155] V. Vairina, _I Scriptiones Cremonenses Universæ_, p. 14, N. 53.




The very mention of Pisa brings to our minds Niccolò Pisano, whose
name stands in all art histories as the fountain-head of that Tuscan
development of art which led to the Renaissance. But where was Niccolò
Pisano trained and qualified for this high post of honour? A great
architect and sculptor does not suddenly become famous and obtain
important commissions without having some undeniable credentials.

In those mediæval days, when the arts protected themselves by forming
into constituted guilds, no one could call himself a Master unless he
were trained and qualified in one of these guilds and had reached the
higher grades. To trace Niccolò's place in the great chain of the
Masonic Guild, we must go back a little, and gather together the
threads of information we have been able to glean, as to the expansion
of the guild itself, and here the valuable collections of archivial
documents made by Sig. Milanesi from the books and archives of the
Opera del Duomo at Siena, and by Sig. Cesare Guasti from those of the
cathedral at Florence, will materially assist us. By studying these
and putting facts and statements together the whole organization
becomes clear, and our former glimpses into the threefold aspect of
the lodges at Modena, Parma, and other northern cities become

Here in Tuscany we again find the three branches. First: There is the
school where novices were trained in the three sister arts--painting,
sculpture, and architecture. When pupils were received from outside
the guild, they had to pass a very severe novitiate before being
admitted as members; but the sons and nephews of _Magistri_ were, we
learn, entitled to be members by heritage without the novitiate.[156]
The hereditary aspect of the lists of Masters certainly displays this
right of heritage very strongly. The qualified Masters were entitled
to take pupils and apprentices in their own studios. The large number
of pupils who studied under Niccolò Pisano suggests his eminent
position in the guild.

Second: There was the _laborerium_, or great workshop, where all the
hewing of stone, carving of columns, cutting up of wood-work was
done--in fact, the head-quarters of the brethren who had passed the
schools, but were not yet Masters.[157] A graphic sketch from a
Masonic _laborerium_ is given by Nanni di Banco, in the relief under
the shrine of the _Quattro Coronati_ on Or San Michele at Florence,
where the four brethren are all at work. In looking at it, one is
reminded of the old story of the block of marble from which Michael
Angelo's David was made, which had laid for many years in the stores
of the Opera del Duomo at Florence, it having been once assigned to
Agostino di Ducci, who was commissioned in 1464 to make a statue for
the front of the Duomo, which was blocked out so badly that the marble
was taken away from him, and he was expelled from the _laborerium_.[158]

Third: There was the _Opera_ or Office of Administration, which
formed the link between the guild and its patrons. The Freemasons
evidently adapted their nomenclature to the dialect of the part they
were in. In Tuscany the word for this office was _Opera_ (or Works).
There was the Opera di S. Jacopo at Pistoja as early as 1100; and the
Opera del Duomo at Pisa, Siena, and Florence. In cities of the Lombard
district, such as Modena, Parma, Padua, Milan, etc., the name is
_Fabbriceria_. The members of this Ruling Council are generally four
in number, and are called _Operai_ in Tuscany, and _Fabbricieri_ in
Lombardy. These were elected periodically, two of them being
influential citizens, who acted on the part of the patrons, and two
from the Masters themselves. Where the lodge was very small there was
only one _operaio_, as in Pistoja, when in 1250 Turrisianus was
overseer (_superstans_) for a year. Later, when the Pistoja lodge was
larger, there were two. At Milan there were more than four. Above
these was the _Superiore_, a sort of president. If there were a
reigning Prince, he was usually elected president. In the _Opera_, all
commissions were given, and contracts signed between the city and the
Masters, every contract being duly drawn up in legal manner by the
notary of the _Opera_. Here orders were given for the purchase of
materials, and estimates considered for the payment of either work or
goods. The _Opera_ had to provide the funds for the whole expenses.
Usually this was done in the first instance by appropriating to the
work the receipts of one or more taxes. In course of time people left
legacies, and the _Opera_ had a knack of growing very rich.

Between the _Opera_ and the _laborerium_ was a responsible officer
called the _Provveditore_. Judging from the entries in his private
memorandum-book, his responsibilities must have been endless, and his
occupations multitudinous.

There was also a treasurer, a secretary, and two _Probiviri_,
sometimes called _Buon uomini_, who acted as arbiters, for purposes of
appeal and verification of accounts.

The identical form of the lodges in the different cities is a strong
argument that the same ruling body governed them all. An argument
equally strong is the ubiquity of the members. We find the same man
employed in one lodge after another, as work required. Unfortunately
no documents exist of the early Lombard times, but the archives of the
_Opere_, which in most cities have been faithfully kept since the
thirteenth century, would, if thoroughly examined, prove to be
valuable stores from which to draw a history of the Masonic Guild.

We will now return to Pisa.

Sig. Merzario asserts that no school of art indigenous to Pisa existed
there before the building of the Duomo. He might almost have said
before the time of Niccolò, for so far was the half-mythical Buschetto
from being a Pisan, that the world has for eight centuries been
arguing where he came from! To arrive at Niccolò it is necessary to
start from Buschetto. Who was Buschetto? Whence came he? Vasari, in
his ignorance of monumental Latin, says, "From Dulichium," and thus
the idea was promulgated that he was a Greek. But the inscription
(given on next page) on Pisa cathedral says nothing of the kind. It is
a flowery eloquence which Cavalier Del Borgo reads as comparing him
for genius to Ulysses, Duke of Dulichium, and for skill to Dædalus.

Cicognara judges from his name that he was Italian. Most probably
Buschetto was a nickname, "little bush," given him either from a shock
head of hair, or derived from _Buscare_, to thrash or flog. It is
quite possible, though the proofs are not very strong, that he may
have been of Greek extraction, descended from some of the Byzantine
members of the guild of whom we have spoken before.

     BUSKET.[159] JACE ... HIC .... INGENIOR͞U

The partisans of the Grecian theory hold much to a MS. said to be now
in the archives of the Vatican,--but which Milanesi asserts cannot be
found,--which says that the Pisans "_Buschetum ex Grecia favore
Constantinopolitani Imperatoris obtinuerunt_." Morrona also suspects
this to be apocryphal; but even if it be genuine, the Pisans may only
have asked for one of the Italian architects who were working in large
numbers in the East under the Emperors, and building Lombard churches
on Oriental ground. It was only in 1170 that Desiderius, Abbot of
Monte Cassino, begged Comnenus to send him back some architects, and
the Italian sculptor Olinto was among them.

It may well be true, as Sig. Merzario says, that no school existed at
Pisa before the Duomo was begun. But soon after that, we certainly
find the usual organization of _laborerium_ and _Opera_.

Old authors tell us that "the most famous Masters from foreign parts
vied in lending their help to the building of such an important
edifice, under the direction of Buschetto."[162] Another old MS.[163]
records that the "Opera of the Duomo was instituted in 1080, some
years after Buschetto was engaged, and that the first _operai_ of the
Council were Hildebrand, son of the Judge Uberto, son of Leo,
Signoretto Alliata, and Buschetto of Dulichium who was architect. The
head of these was Hildebrand, and the others were ministers and
officers of the Opera, as may be found in the archives of the said
Opera."[164] Here we have the full organization of the Comacine House
of Works. The dignitaries of the city as President, Treasurer, and
Ministers, the head architect also a member of the Council of the
Opera. Another old writer calls Buschetto _capo della scuola Pisana_.

Niccolò, Giovanni, and Andrea da Pisa are fine proofs that the school
at Pisa flourished and brought forth brave artists. Even as late as
the sixteenth century, when Sansovino was sculpturing the casing of
the Holy House at Loreto, we are told that thirty of the best carvers
in stone were sent from Pisa to work under the Capo Maestro, Andrea
Contucci of Monte Sansovino.[165]

Among the _Magistri_ from other parts in Buschetto's time, one of the
chief was doubtless Rainaldo, who, judging from the inscription near
the principal door of the façade, was not only a working sculptor in
the guild, but also a full-fledged Master--


It is much to be deplored that this inscription bears no date, so that
we cannot tell whether Rainaldo were chief architect after Buschetto,
or whether he were only sculptor and executed the front; Buschetto
being architect, and designing the whole. Here we have several things
to suggest both these artists as Italians, (1) Their names. (2) The
Comacine form of their institutions, with the _Opera_ at the head. (3)
The concourse of Italian _Magistri_ which followed them; but as usual,
absolute proof is wanting.

Let us see if their work can throw more light on the question. Is the
Pisan church Byzantine? Decidedly not. There are no domes except the
central one, which is seen in most Lombard churches; no Oriental
arches resting on bulging capitals; but round arches supported on the
identical Romano-Lombard composite capitals one sees in every Italian
church of the time. The façade too is a very wilderness of Lombard
galleries in every direction. Instead of following the line of roof,
they cover the whole front, one below another. If Buschetto had
brought back from Byzantium an idea of more richness of ornamentation,
he certainly worked it out in Italian forms, by merely multiplying his
little pillared galleries till a network was formed over the whole
building. This was not confined to him; it became a mark of Comacine
work for the next two or three centuries, as we may see at Lucca,
Ancona, Arezzo, and other places. The style is called Romanesque, and
it stands between the heavier Lombard style of the earlier Comacines,
and the more finished Italian Gothic of the later ones, as shown in
Florence and Milan. They are all, however, only different developments
of the same guild.

   _See page 212._]

The richness of ornamentation suited the temper of the Pisans at that
time. They were proud of many victories, and had brought back from
Majorca, Palermo, and other places, various spoils, such as porphyry
colonnettes, rare marble, etc. etc.[166] They desired a particularly
grand and gorgeous church, and that it should be in a style hitherto
unknown. The many antique capitals and columns among the spoils placed
at his disposal suggested, of course, arches, so by way of being very
original, Buschetto or Rainaldo, whichever of the two designed it,
made his façade with four arcades, instead of one, or two, as his
brethren in the north were accustomed to do. The colonnettes in these
four galleries are fifty-eight in number, some of _rosso antico_,
others of the black and gold-streaked Luna marble. The two large
columns at the central door are also of antique Greek work; they are
beautifully carved in foliage intertwined; the other four columns are
fluted and wreathed with foliage. The capitals also are chiefly
ancient classic work; there are Corinthian and composite ones. The
remaining capitals are Comacine work, and have their usual mixture of
animals and hieroglyphic figures. Here, too, are the lions of Judah in
juxtaposition with the pillars, but as yet they appear above the
pillar and not beneath it, as was the invariable custom a century

The rude figures of saints at the extremities of the roof, both of the
aisles and nave, mark the beginning of that revival of the human
figure in sculpture, which was the forerunner of the work of Niccolò
Pisano. The tower and Baptistery are the natural results of the
Duomo, the style being identical; the same round arches in the
foundation, and the same circles of Lombard galleries covering the

The Baptistery was built by Magister Diotisalvi, somewhere about 1152.
We have no proofs of his origin, but his work and title prove him to
have graduated in the same guild as Buschetto and Rainaldo,[167] and
we find his son and grandsons in Siena and other lodges.

In the Baptistery, the old mystic octagonal form was abandoned, and
the circle takes its place. Diotisalvi has here made a perfect bell in
tone as well as in form. It is the most acoustic building possible, as
any one may prove by singing in rotation the notes of a chord. The
whole chord echoes on for several moments with exquisite effect. The
Baptistery was begun in August 1152, the first stone being laid in the
presence of the Consul Cocco di Tacco Grifi; and two of the _Operai_
(members of the administrative council or _Opera_) named Cinetto
Cinetti, and Arrigo Cancellieri, were appointed _soprastanti_
(overseers). Here again we have a distinct connection between the
_Opera del Duomo_ and the _laborerium_.

Some of the classic spoils of war were given to Diotisalvi for this
building. Several of the capitals on the twenty columns supporting the
foundation circle of round arches, are Corinthian; and the two pillars
at the chief portal are beautiful specimens of ancient work, similar
to those in the façade of the Duomo. Between the classic remains
incorporated into the building, and the statues and sculptures which
belong to a later century, it is difficult to distinguish which were
the absolute work of Diotisalvi himself. The sculptures on the
door-jambs--rather mediæval scenes relating to Christ and David--and
the hieroglyphics of the months were probably his own work. The
Baptism of Christ on the architrave, which has the mediæval expression
of baptism by immersion, may be his; and if so, it seems to explain
how the Greek element got into Niccolò di Pisa's work, for here is his
antecedent of a century, showing in his work signs of the same leaning
to classicism in the midst of a rude and early style. How could he
help it when he was living among classic remains of sculpture?

The other three doors have also antique spiral columns of Greek
marble. A fine piece of work, in Comacine style, is the frieze of
interlaced foliage over the west entrance. The second order is a
colonnade of fifty-eight arches with sculptured capitals. The third
consists of eighteen pilasters and twenty windows. Here are seen the
lion between the pillar and the arch, various animals and human heads
at the spring of the arches, while above each order is a complicated
cornice of pyramids, spires, and arabesques, which suggest a Southern
or Eastern influence. The interior is less ornate, but of fine solid
architecture. Twelve Corinthian columns and four large pilasters
support the arches, forming a peristyle round the building; a similar
gallery with slight columns runs above it. The columns are not all of
antique marble. Three of them are of granite brought from the Isle of
Elba, on May 4, 1155, and two from Sardinia, by Cinetti, one of the
overseers we have mentioned.[168] The first pillar was placed on
October 1, 1156. The capitals are ornate; some antique, Corinthian,
others in Comacine style with animals and _intrecci_. On one of the
pillars is engraved--"Deo-ti-salvi, magister hujus operis." Morrona
thinks the Baptistery shows a Moorish influence. This is possible, as
the whole of the three buildings show the Comacines' first great
change of style, after their works in the south at Palermo, and the
kingdom of Naples.

Old writers call the style Arabo-Tedesco; and this brings us to the
meaning of the word _Tedesco_ in Italian architecture at this epoch.

The fallacy that the Italian Gothic came from Germany, must have got
into art histories from a misconception of Vasari's term of
opprobrium, "_quei Tedeschi_." He uses it when he speaks of any
architecture which is not purely classic, even blaming buildings such
as Arnolfo's Florentine dome, the churches of Assisi, Orvieto, Lucca,
Pisa, etc.

But the writers who interpret this term as meaning the German nation,
are reasoning on a fallacy. In the first place, was there any pointed
Gothic in Germany before the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries? We
will just run over the principal Gothic cathedrals. Bruges was begun
in 1358; Cologne is modern of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries;
Lubeck was built in 1341; Attenburg in 1265-1379; Freiburg Dom Kirche
in 1484. At Freiburg in Breisgau, the older parts are of the same
style as Comacine, while the Gothic parts date from 1513; Strasburg,
the Gothic parts between 1318-1439; Magdeburg, 1363.

Before these were built we have at Cologne, S. Gereon's Kirche, with
circular arches, date 1227, and S. Pantaleon, 980, but there is not a
sign of Gothic in either. Bonn cathedral, built in 1151-1270, is also
round-arched. Coblenz is Carlovingian. Mayence, round-arched of the
tenth and eleventh centuries (the Gothic side-chapels date from 1260
to 1500). Treves, with round arches, early Romanesque of the eleventh
century; choir, later Romanesque of the twelfth century; some parts
which are pointed were of the thirteenth century. Hildesheim, a
Romanesque Basilica, built in the eleventh century. Dom Insel at
Breslau, 1170, is tripartite, on the Comacine plan, and very quaint.
Worms, 996-1016, Lombard style, with round arches; the parts with
pointed architecture are much more modern. This list proves that the
earliest churches were built by Italian Masters, or at least in the
Italian style.

Indeed Hope classes most of them as Lombard. The Germans themselves
expanded the Lombard style into the pointed, which also came up
through Italy, its first signs being seen at Assisi, next at Pisa, and
then Florence.

Milan was a later reflex of the perfected German Gothic, though
chiefly executed, as we shall see later, by the hands of Comacine

As I have before remarked, climatic influences greatly determine the
style of a national architecture. To the sunny south belong the flat
roof; the shady colonnade; the horizontal line and frieze; the
fountained court; the smaller windows; and the solid tower. To the
north the pointed roof, that snow and rain shall not decay it; the
solid buttress to resist the greater outward pressure of the high and
aspiring sloped roof; the perpendicular tendency in design; the larger
windows for a less sunny atmosphere; and the pointed spire to carry up
the general lines.

On these lines of fitness the Germans and French perfected their
style, and imported it into England. The differences are great,
between this northern Gothic and the Italian Gothic, which is always
more or less Romanesque. Now if in the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries[169] the Germans had not begun to build their glorious
pointed minsters, what did Vasari mean by _quei Tedeschi_? I will show
from his own description. In his chapter called "_dell'
Architettura_," forming the introduction to his _Lives_, after
discussing the three classical orders, he says (I will translate
literally)--"There is another kind of work which they call _Tedesco_
(German), in which the ornamentation and proportions are very
different from the ancient or the modern. (Modern in Vasari's time
would be the Renaissance style of Michael Angelo.) This is not used by
good architects of these days, but is shunned by them as monstrous and
barbarous. Every sign of order is forgotten, it ought rather to be
called confusion and disorder. In the buildings, which are so many
that they have infected the whole world, you see the portals adorned
with thin columns twisted like a vine, and so slight that they could
not be supposed to support the weight. And then on their façades and
other places they made a cursed mass of little tabernacles (archlets)
one on the other, with many pyramids and points, and such foliage
(here Vasari evidently has his eye on Pisa Baptistery), that it seems
impossible how they clung together; they seem made of paper, rather
than of stone or marble. In these works there are many protuberances,
broken lines, brackets, and _intrecci_, quite disproportionate to the
building; and frequently, by piling one thing on another, they run up
so high that the top of a door touches the roof. (Here Vasari is
certainly thinking of the porches of San Zeno at Verona, and the
cathedral of Bergamo.) This style was invented by the Goths (does he
mean Longobards perhaps?), who having ruined the buildings, and
murdered the architects, made the ones who remained build in this way.
They arched their roofs with acute _quarti_ (vaulted roofs) and filled
all Italy with this cursed style of building.... God save any country
from coming to such ideas and orders of architecture, which, being
utterly deformed and unlike the beauty of our buildings, do not
deserve that we should speak any more of them."

Again, in the _Proemio delle Vite_, when praising the solid buildings
of the Goths in Ravenna, especially the tomb of Theodoric, with its
huge monolithic roof, he goes on to speak of the Dark Ages--"After
which," he says, "there arose new architects, who from their barbarous
nation derived the kind of buildings which we of to-day call
_tedeschi_, the which seem ridiculous to us, although to them they may
have appeared to be praiseworthy."

Here are tirades from the old chronicler of art, who swore by the
three classic orders, and worshipped Michael Angelo and the
Renaissance style! Certainly the flat pilaster, triangular pediments,
and straight unadorned lines of that art were as far removed as the
poles from the florid but meaningful sculpture-architecture of the
Comacines in Romanesque times, or its rich Norman and Gothic

However, we gather plainly from this, that when Vasari calls a master
_Tedesco_, he means merely Lombard. The reason is easy to see.
Lombardy and North Italy, down to Lucca, were from about 1170 under
the rule of the German Emperors, consequently the Comacines were no
longer Lombards, nor French as in the Carlovingian times, but Germans.

This is curiously emphasized by an episode in the building of the
cathedral at Pisa. When the Pisans wanted to endow the building fund
of the church, they wished to buy some land on the Serchio, near
Lucca, to help to form a revenue. They had, however, to send Gualando
Orlandi and Aldebrando de' Visconti as ambassadors to Germany to
obtain permission from the Emperor Henry IV., that the lands close by
Lucca might be ceded to Pisa.[170]

The tower of Pisa is too well known to need any description here. The
joint masters were Bonanno of Pisa, and a very confusing _Tedesco_. In
some authors he is called Giovanni d'Innspruck, in others Guglielmo
from Germany. On inquiry as to how Innspruck comes into the question,
we find the following perplexing passage in Morrona. After quoting
the inscription on the tower, "A.D. MCLXXIV campanile hoc fuit
fundatum mense Agusti," he continues--"We find from ancient documents
belonging to the _Opera_, that the building was begun on the vigil of
San Lorenzo, and the two above-mentioned architects (Bonanno and
Guglielmo) are precisely indicated, excepting only that instead of
_Guglielmo Tedesco_, it is written _Giovanni Onnipotente of
Germany_--a misinterpretation of the word Oenipons or Oenipontanus,
which signifies native of Innspruck."[171] The italics are my own, and
emphasize what Sig. Morrona styles a precise indication! The passage
is an astounding bit of unreason, but as neither Giovanni nor
Guglielmo is a German form of name, I do not think this theory need
trouble us. Whether the builder were German or Italian, whether named
John or William, he only carried out the general design of the two
buildings, and made a veil of Lombard archlets all over his leaning

We shall find both Bonanno and Guglielmo working at Orvieto some time
later. The tower was finished much later, when Andrea di Pisa was
Grand Master of the Pisan Lodge; the upper circle of arches belongs to
his part of the work.

At Pisa then we have an artistic sphere which might well have produced
Niccolò di Pisa, even without the influences of the south. We will, as
far as the few inscriptions and documents allow, see who were the
members of this Masonic lodge, which had painters before even the rise
of the Siena school, and whose building was the earliest model for the
Romanesque style.

Bonanno, who assisted in the building of the tower, was more famous in
the guild for his metal working than for architecture and marble
sculpture. The fame of the bronze doors of the Duomo which he cast is
now only traditionary, as they were destroyed by the fire on October
25, 1596. The antique inscription has been preserved, and proves that
in 1180 Bonanno cast the doors, which had taken him a year to model,
and that a certain "Benedict" was _operarius_ at the time.[172]

Bonanno's successor as a master in bronze was a certain Bartolommeo di
Pisa, who was, like Bonanno, sculptor, architect, and metal-worker. He
was much patronized by the Emperor Frederic, for whom he built the
palace at Foggia, and made a tomb. He seems to have been a famous
bell-caster; there are inscriptions quoted by Morrona,[173] which have
been found on bells in the leaning tower of Pisa, the bells of the
churches of St. Francis at Assisi, S. Francesco at Siena, S. Paolo a
Ripa d'Arno, and S. Cosimo at Pisa, S. Michele at Lucca, etc.
Sometimes his name stands alone; sometimes one of his sons, Lotteringo
or Andreotti, is associated with him. Later we find the sons' names
alone in independent works, and then with the distinctive title of

Through this group of Pisan Masters a special connection was
established with the south, a link which might account for Pietro, the
father of Niccolò, being called Pietro da Apulia, for there certainly
was an offshoot of the Pisan lodge in that part. Bonanno of Pisa cast
the famous bronze doors of Monreale; Bartolommeo was at Foggia; and
his son, Magister Lotoringus, passed most of his life at Cefalù, where
his name appears on a bell dated A.D. 1263. The Emperor Frederic, his
father's patron, nationalized him in Cefalù, and after ten years of
residence, in 1242 he gave him permission to take a wife from
Castro-Vetere in Calabria.

Other metal-workers and bell-casters at Pisa were a Nanni, a Pardo
Nardi, and others whose names appear inscribed in the twelfth century.
I do not know whether the Angelo Rossi, whose name with the date 1173
is on a sculptured bell once in the church of S. Giovanni in Pisa (now
at Villa di Pugnano), was a fellow-pupil or scholar of Bonanno's. His
work is less artistic and masterly.

And now for the sculptors of the lodge. A famous master of the twelfth
century was Biduinus, who sculptured the façade of the ancient church
of S. Cassiano, near Pisa, the building of which was undoubtedly the
work of the Pisan Lodge. It is a round-arched church of the usual
large smooth square-cut blocks of stone, and is externally adorned by
pilasters with capitals of varied form and sculpture. Biduinus' façade
has five round arches with a simple double-light window above. The
capitals and architraves are all carved with the mystic beasts and
hippogriffs belonging to the religion of the day. The architraves show
the resurrection of Lazarus, and Christ's entry into Jerusalem. On one
of the doors is the inscription in Gothic letters--"_Hoc opus quod
cernis. Biduinus docte peregit_"; the other bears the date 1180. The
whole style of the church is similar to the Pistoja buildings of that
epoch, and recalls the school of Gruamonte. It is certain that
Biduinus as well as Gruamont worked in Lucca, for the relief of the
architrave of S. Salvatore at Lucca is signed "BIDUVINO ME FECIT HOC

   _See page 223._]

The next great names are Niccolò and Giovanni Pisani, the glory not
only of their own lodge, but of the universal Guild. Until the time
when his famous pulpit was sculptured, Niccolò seems to have worked
little in Pisa, though he endowed it with one of his most original
designs--the bell-tower of S. Niccolò. From the evidence of
southern influence in his style, it is probable that his father Pietro
was one of the artists whom Frederic called to South Italy, and that
Niccolò passed his novitiate with him there. In any case, by the time
he wrote _Magister_ before his name he had already attained a high
rank as sculptor and architect, and was chosen for most important
works out of Pisa, such as the Arca di S. Domenico at Bologna, and the
building of the church and convent near it. Niccolò Pisano's work in
Florence was almost exclusively architectural; he also designed the
cathedral churches of Arezzo and Cortona. His pupil, Fra Guglielmo, a
relative of the Doge dell' Agnello of Pisa who was Niccolò's assistant
in the Arca di S. Domenico at Bologna in 1272, worked in 1293 at the
reliefs in the façade of Orvieto, and in 1304 put the Romanesque front
to S. Michele in Borgo, in Pisa. The Virgin and Child over the door of
the latter is a copy of Niccolò's famous statue. Some authors give him
the credit of being the _Tedesco_ who Vasari says sculptured the fine
pulpit in S. Gio. Fuorcivitas at Pistoja, and who assisted Bonanno in
the tower of Pisa.

A sculptor named Bonaiuto must, I think, have belonged to Niccolò's
school. Two interesting sculptured doorways by him still exist in what
was once the Palazzo Sclafani at Palermo (now the barracks of S.
Trinità). The doorway is carved in _tufo_, and above it is a kind of
gable supported by two small pilasters, enclosing the arms of the
family, a pair of cranes; surmounting the gable is a carved eagle,
with a hare in its claws, standing on a kind of capital, which is
unmistakably Comacine; beneath this is a bracket inscribed, "_Bonaiuto
me fe-cit de Pisa_." Sig. Centofanti, in a private letter to Professor
Clemente Lupi, who wrote to ask for information about Bonaiuto, says
that a register of expenses of the Opera del Duomo of Pisa contains
several mentions of the name. In one dated 1315 _Bonaiutus magister
lapidum_ is noted as working at the Duomo, and receiving two soldi a
day, his companions receiving four or five, and the _capo maestro_
eight. Here it would seem he is still in the lower ranks of the
brotherhood. In 1318 he is noted as Boniautus Michaelis, and receives
four soldi a day. In 1344 he has become full _capo maestro_ of the
Duomo, and is paid nine soldi a day.[174]

From his school also sprang Arnolfo, the first of a long line of
sculptor-builders of the Florentine Lodge. From it, too, through his
son Giovanni, came the best builders of the Siena cathedral, and their
followers who worked at Orvieto.

Thus Niccolò and Giovanni are proved to be links in the old chain that
came from classic Rome through the Lombard Comacines to the
Renaissance. All the famous names that ever were, may be traced in
this universal Guild from father to son, from master to pupil. After
Giovanni Pisano went to Siena, Andrea di Pisa, his scholar, carried on
his school in Pisa. In 1299 we first hear of Andrea, the son of a
notary at Pontedera, as _famulus magistri Johannes_.[175] His first
authentic works were the bronze doors of the Florentine Baptistery,
proving that he had been trained in the many-branched fraternity at
Pisa, where metal-working ranked so high. As instances of his
sculptures in marble, we may take many of the statues which were on
the Duomo at Florence, and the second line of reliefs on Giotto's
campanile. But like all the _Magistri_, he was, above all, an
architect, and in that branch we find him as Grand Master at Orvieto
in 1347. His son Nino succeeded him in the onerous office. His other
son Tommaso was also in the guild, but did not rise to eminence in it.
He designed a palace, and painted two caskets for the Doge dell'
Agnello of Pisa.

Nino's sculptures show a greater fidelity to nature than those of his
artistic ancestors. A Madonna and two angels over the door of the
canonry of the Duomo at Florence are very charming, as are his statues
in the church of the "Spina" at Pisa. We next find Nino's son Andrea
receiving payment for a sepulchre for the Doge dell' Agnello, which
Nino did not live long enough to finish.

One among Andrea's pupils who were not his relatives rose to special
and wide-spread eminence in the guild, _i.e._ Magister Giovanni
Balducci di Pisa, whose artistic career was mostly in Milan, where the
Visconti patronized him. He sculptured several tombs, among them the
beautiful Arca of St. Peter Martyr in S. Eustorgio in 1336. The
figures of the Christian Virtues are very sweet and naturalistic. On a
sculptured pulpit at S. Casciano near Florence, of the same shape and
style as that by Guido di Como at Pistoja, but infinitely more
advanced in art, he has signed, "Hoc opus fecit Johs Balducci Magister
de Pisis." The only architectural work that is mentioned as signed by
him is the door of S. Maria in Brera at Milan.



    1.  | 1152 | Magister Buono              | Employed at Ravenna and
        |      |                             | at Naples, where he built
        |      |                             | Castel dell' Uovo and Castel
        |      |                             | Capuano. At Arezzo the
        |      |                             | palace of the Signory.
        |      |                             |
  2 & 3.| 1168 | "M. Johannes and Guitto"    | Made the Ciborium at
        |      | (Guido)                     | Corneto.
        |      |                             |
    4.  | 1196 | Magister Buono, called      | Built the churches of S.
        |      | Gruamont                    | Andrea and S. Gio.
        |      |                             | Evangelista at Pistoja. This
        |      |                             | man is said by Vasari to be
        |      |                             | identical with the first
        |      |                             | Buono.
        |      |                             |
    5.  |      | M. Adeodatus, his brother   | Worked with him at Pistoja.
        |      |                             |
    6.  | 1206 | "Magister Bonus," or Buono  | Designed Fiesole cathedral.
        |      |                             |
    7.  | 1264 | M. Giovanni Buono (Zambono) | Worked at S. Anthony, Padua;
        |      |                             | in 1265 built the cathedral
        |      |                             | of S. Jacopo, in Pistoja.
        |      |                             |
    8.  |      | M. Andrea Buono, his        | These brothers worked
        |      | brother                     | together at the pulpit at
        |      |                             | Corneto Tarquinia, and
        |      |                             | probably built the church.
        |      |                             | Niccolao di Rannuccio
        |      |                             | sculptured the door, inlaid
        |      |                             | in Cosmati style.
        |      |                             |
    9.  | 1285 | M. Alberto di Guido Buono } |
        |      |                           } | Sculptured at S. Pietro,
   10.  |  "   | M. Albertino di Enrico    } | Bologna.
        |      | Buono                     } |

     The family were leading members of the guild up to the
     fifteenth century, when Bartolommeo Buono and his sons won
     fame in Venice.

We have seen the long connection of the Comacines with Lucca, during
Lombard times, when they helped to build S. Frediano and other
churches there. Sig. Ridolfi, author of _L' Arte in Lucca_, proves that
not only the chief churches, but the cathedral itself, were the work
of the Lombard "Maestri Casari" who had established their schools
there, since they restored S. Frediano for the Lombard Faulone in 686,
and built the Basilica of S. Martino for Bishop Frediano in 588.

By the tenth century the church of S. Martino was very dilapidated,
which much grieved the mind of Bishop Anselmo, who sought to gather
together funds for its restoration. Two wealthy Lucchesi, Lambertus
and Blancarius, both dignitaries of the cathedral, gave large
donations towards it. Not long after this, Bishop Anselmo was elevated
to the Papal See as Pope Alexander II., and immediately began the
long-desired work of rebuilding his ex-cathedral.

  [Illustration: CHURCH OF S. MICHELE, LUCCA.
   _See page 228._ ]

He being a Milanese, and the Comacines his countrymen, besides their
having a long connection with Lucca, it is natural to suppose he
chose them as his architects. Every sign of the work confirms this,
although no names have come down to us. As was frequently the case,
the church was left without a façade for over a century, and at the
end of the twelfth century the Lucchesi wished to put this finishing

There was in Lucca at the time a certain Magister Guido da Como, who
had in 1187 built the church of S. Maria Corteorlandini. It was built
for the feudal Lords Rolandinga, whose palace was called Corte
Rolandinga, on the occasion of one of their family joining in the
crusades.[176] There is mention of a Comacine sculptor named Guido
before this date, at Corneto-Tarquinia, where in the church of S.
Maria di Castello is a fine Ciborium, signed "Johannes et Guitto hoc
opus fecerunt, MCLXVIII." This, being only nineteen years previous,
may have been an earlier work of this same Guido. This _Magister_
evidently had a son who followed his father's art, and was named after
himself Guido, though called Guidetto, or young Guido, to distinguish
him from his father. To these two men were confided the commission for
the front of the Duomo. Probably the elder did not live to complete
it, for although the commission was given to Maestro Guido Marmolario
(_sic_), the inscription on the façade runs--"Mille C.C.|IIII.|
condi|dit|ele|cti tam pul|chras. dextra|Guidecti."[177] Among the
sculptures is one figure with a very young face, supposed to be a
portrait of Guidetto. This façade is a perfect specimen of pure
Comacine-Romanesque, and shows that the Saracen influence under which
the Masters had been placed in the south, when employed by the Lombard
Dukes of Beneventum, had not led them to change entirely their old
style, but only to develop it into a species of Oriental richness
which (so far we may agree with old Vasari) sometimes errs against
truth and good taste. It shows also the close connection between the
Pisan and Lucchese Lodges.

The row of archlets which used to form a cornice under the roof now,
as at Pisa, run wild over the whole façade. The outlines which used to
follow honestly the shape of nave and aisles, now, for the sake of
heaping on more ornament, stretch up far beyond the roof-line, forming
a mask.

A still more glaring instance of the same fault is seen in Guidetto's
other church, S. Michele, at Lucca, where the two upper galleries are
the frontage of a mere useless wall in the air.

As an architect, young Guido left something to be desired; as a
sculptor he was marvellous. Variety seems to have been his aim. In
both S. Martino and S. Michele, among all the hundreds of colonnettes,
you can scarcely find a duplicate. They are plain, fluted, foliaged,
clustered, inlaid; black, white, red, green, yellow or parti-coloured,
in endless variety. As for capitals, you get every imaginable shape
and style, symbol and ornamentation. He outdoes his prototype
Rainaldus of Pisa, and no clearer proof of a guild, rather than a
single mind, can be furnished, than by this infinite variety of
detail, which plainly speaks of the imaginings of many minds.

   _See page 228._]

The Comacines here are still in the transition stage, though near its
end, for the sign of the lion of Judah holds its place above the
pillar, under the spring of the arch. In the Italian Gothic, their
next development, it is always beneath the column.

One of the lion-capped columns is entirely covered with sculptures
representing the genealogical tree of the Virgin. The statue above the
door, of St. Martin dividing his cloak with the beggar, is
sufficiently well modelled as to suggest its belonging to a later

Signor Ridolfi, who has studied much in the archives of Lucca for his
learned work _L' Arte in Lucca_, thinks that, in 1204, Guidetto the
younger was only just beginning his career. His father must have died
about this time, for the son loses his diminutive, and becomes in his
turn Guido _Magistro_. In 1211 he was called to Prato to work at the
Duomo there (then known as S. Stefano). The contract, which still
exists, does not specify what part of the church he was to build. It
is drawn up by the Notary Hildebrand, and binds "Guido, Maestro
marmoraio" of S. Martino of Lucca, to go to Prato on fair terms, and
there to remain working, and _commanding others to work_, at the
church of S. Stefano. After this he was recalled to Lucca, to put the
above-mentioned façade to S. Michele, which Teutprand had built in the
eighth century, and which had been rebuilt, when in 1027 Beraldo de'
Rolandinghi had left a large legacy for the purpose. This façade,
which, as I have said, is precisely similar in style to that of the
Duomo, was finished in 1246.[178] Guido was then called to Pisa, to
sculpture the altar and font in the Baptistery there. Not much remains
of the altar--which appears to have been the usual edifice on four
columns--except some very ancient sculpture, and two small columns
with extremely rude statues on them. The inscription, however, is
preserved, and runs--"A.D. MCCXLVI, sub Jacobi Rectore loci--Guido
Bigarelli da Como fecit hoc opus."[179] This valuable discovery was
made by the German Schmarzow. Here we have the family name of this
busy sculptor, and of his father Guido of Como. It is one of the first
instances, for surnames only became fixed about this time.

Guido or Guidetto's last work appears to have been the pulpit in San
Bartolommeo in Pantano, at Pistoja, executed in 1250. This is
particularly interesting, as being the immediate precursor of Niccolò
Pisano's pulpit at Pisa in 1260. It has been thought that Guido,
either from death or other cause, left the work imperfect, and his
pupil Turrisianus finished it. The inscription as quoted by Cav.
Tolomei is--"Sculptor laudator qui doctus in arte probatur|Guido de
Como quem cunctis carmine promo| Anno domini 1250|Est operi sanus
superestans Turrisianus |Namque fide prova vigil K Deus indi

Tolomei is puzzled by the cypher K, and Ciampi, the collector of
inscriptions, has, in reporting this one, left out the last line
altogether. He interprets it as implying that Guido having left the
work unfinished, Turrisianus finished it. Whilst I was studying lately
some old documents in the archives of S. Jacopo at Pistoja, Signor
Guido Macciò of that city, who kindly assisted me to read the crabbed
old characters, threw a new light on that inscription. He says Tolomei
has misread it; that the cypher is not a K but H C, which was plainly
legible in a rubbing he took of it, and that _superstans_ merely means
overseer; in fact, the Latin form of _operaio_. The same term
_superstans_ was used for the head of the _laborerium_ in Rome up to
the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries, and survived in the later
lodges as _soprastante_. Signor Macciò interprets the inscription
thus--"The famous sculptor Guido of Como has proved himself learned in
art, and his name should be sung in verse, A.D. 1250. Turrisianus
(Torrigiani) acted as overseer to this fine work, and may God crown
him for superintending the work so well." I leave more learned
classics to say which interpretation is the true one. But as in most
of the inscriptions, documents, etc. of the guild, the name of the
head of the lodge, and often those of the councillors are put in, I
incline to think Signor Macciò may be right, and the inscription is
another proof of a Masonic lodge in which Torrigiani was, at the time,
the head of the administration.

   _See page 230._]

Guido's pulpit is of white marble, and in the ancient square form,
with eight panels in bas-relief. It rests on three columns; the first
stands on a lion with a dragon at its feet, the second on a lioness
suckling a cub, the third on a human figure. In this pulpit, and the
older one at Groppoli, we have a perceptible link, connecting Niccolò
Pisano with the Comacine Guild, which we shall trace more closely when
speaking of Romanesque sculpture.

There were at that epoch three lodges in the immediate neighbourhood.
One in connection with the Opera del Duomo at Pisa, one at Pistoja in
the Opera di S. Jacopo, and a third one at Lucca, where Guido and
Guidetto were chief sculptors. Besides this there was another in
Apulia, where it is thought Niccolò's father Pietro worked. Niccolò's
work, and that of Guido the younger, are so very much alike as to
warrant the suspicion that they were both pupils of one master, but
that Niccolò had in him these greater qualities which go to form an
epoch-making artist.

Little has hitherto come to light respecting the Masonic lodges of
Lucca and Pisa. The _laborerium_ at Pistoja is rather more clearly
defined, and furnishes some definite names. It existed from the
twelfth century, but I do not think the archives were kept quite so
early as that. There is the name RODOLFIN'S OP, anni 1167, carved on
the architrave of the principal entrance of the Lombard church of S.
Bartolommeo in Pantano; but as critics cannot tell whether it means
"Rodolfinus opus" or "Rodolfinus operaius" or head of the Opera, it is
not a very decisive bit of history. The reading "Rodolfinus Operaius
for the year 1167" would, like "Turrisianus, overseer in 1250," be
quite intelligible in its connection with the guild.

The façade of S. Bartolommeo is a masterpiece of Lombard work. It has
the usual three round-arched doors, whose pilasters and architraves
are rich with interlaced scrolls and foliage, and whose richly-carved
arches rest on lions more or less fiercely dominating other animals,
as emblems that divine strength is able to overcome sin. Whether all
the animal sculptures on this church are due to the twelfth-century
builder, or whether some are remains of Gundoaldo's[181] first edifice
in 767, I cannot say. The architraves are certainly of the later date.

The head, or _capo-maestro_ of the _laborerium_ of Pistoja in the
twelfth century, was evidently one of the Buono family, whose race and
school became as famous as the Antelami and Campionesi, all three
being branches of the original Lombard Guild. Like the Antelami and
the Campionesi, the school founded by the Buoni furnished several
shining lights among the Lombard _Magistri_. The name is first met
with in the poem of which we have spoken,[182] on the Ten Years' War
between Milan and the people of Como. Among the brave citizens who
threw down their tools to take arms, and distinguished themselves in
wielding them, was a certain Giovanni Buono from Vesonzo (now Bissone)
in Vall' Intelvi, who took part in the siege of the fortress of S.
Martino on Lake Lugano. The war took place in the tenth century; the
poem was written a little later than 1100. Sig. Merzario[183] opines
that the Maestro Buono of whom Vasari speaks as the "first architect
who showed a more elevated spirit, and aimed after better things, but
of whose country and family he knows nothing,"[184] was one of this
line of sculptor-architects originally from Vesonzo (Bissone) in
Inteluum (Val d'Intelvi). The name Giovanni occurs constantly in the

Certainly the head of the line, as far as regards art, was the
Magister Giovanni Buoni here mentioned by Vasari, who goes on to say
that this Buono in 1152 had been employed on buildings in Ravenna,
after which he was called to Naples, where he built the Castel dell'
Uovo and Castel Capuano; and that in the time of Doge Domenico
Morosini, _i.e._ 1154, he founded the Campanile of S. Marco at Venice,
which Vasari asserts was so well built that up to his time it had
never moved a hair (_non ha mai mosso un pelo_).

Vasari says that Giovanni Buono was in 1166 at Pistoja, where he built
the church of S. Andrea. Both Milanesi, Vasari's annotator, and
Merzario[185] complain that Vasari was very confused in these
statements. The tower of S. Marco was, Cicognara says, by a later
Bartolommeo Buono from Bergamo, who also built the Procuratie Vecchie
in the sixteenth century. It is curious how Vasari, living in the same
century, could have made such a statement; he must have known whether
the tower were being built then, or had been standing for several
centuries. The fact was that one Buono built the older tower in Venice
to which Vasari refers, and the sixteenth-century Bartolommeo Buono
was its restorer. The style is certainly antique.

Vasari's annotators agree that this Buono worked at Arezzo, where he
built the bell-tower, and the ancient palace of the Signoria of Arezzo
(_cio è un palazzo della maniera de' Goti_), _i.e._ with large hewn
stones; after which he came to Pistoja, where he built S. Andrea and
other churches.

But even here some confusion exists. It is difficult to decide whether
the builder of S. Andrea at Pistoja, and the cathedral of Lucca was
indeed named Buono or Gruamonte. There is an inscription on the
sculpture of the architrave of the façade which has been a great bone
of contention. It proves, however, beyond a doubt that the usual
organization, with the _Opera_ as the administrative branch, existed
in Pistoja in 1196. It runs--"Fecit hoc opus Gruamons magister bon(us)
et Adot ... (Adeodatus) frater ejus. Tunc erāt operarii Villanus et
Pathus filius Tignosi A.D. MCIXVI."[186] This work was done by
Gruamons, Master Buono, and Adeodatus his brother; Villanus and
Pathus, son of Tignosi, being then _operai_ (_i.e._ on the
administrative council).

In that word _bonus_ lies the difficulty. Some say it is merely placed
in encomium: Gruamons the good master; but it does not seem to me
probable that a man would habitually sign his name with a boastful
adjective; and habitual it was, because on the white stripes of the
architrave of the church of S. Giovanni Evangelista Fuorcivitas he has
again signed himself "Gruamons magister bonus fêc hoc opus." Knowing
the Italian love of nicknames from the earliest ages, I take it
that the architect was really, as Vasari says, Master Bonus or Buono,
and that either from a long neck and a stoop, or from his clever use
of a crane, he was nicknamed Gruamons, "the crane man,"[187] _grue_
being Italian for both bird and machine. That the Gruamons who carved
the Magi on the architrave of S. Andrea was one of the very early
Masters, is evident from the mediæval grossness of his work in carving
the human figure; that he may very likely be Comacine is suggested by
the style and mastery of his _ornamento_ and the life in the figures
of his animals. The capitals supporting this architrave are evidently
by one of his subordinates; they are very rough, but full of meaning,
explaining the mystery of the Annunciation and Conception; below them
the signature _Magister enricus mi fecit_. These early sculptures are
especially interesting, for they are the first efforts of the
Comacines to show Bible events and truths by actual representation
instead of by symbols, and so form the link with the development under
Niccolò Pisano. Hence the greater want of practice in the human
figures, compared to the animals and scrolls, with which the guild had
been familiar for ages.

   _See page 235._]

It is interesting to compare Gruamons' work with that of the later
sculptor of the façade of S. Bartolommeo, and note the rapid progress
that art was making towards more perfect and natural form in
sculpture. There are only twenty-two years between them, but the
sculptor of S. Bartolommeo is far in advance of Gruamons in his
representation of the human figure. It is said that Gruamons has left
his sign in a portrait of himself on the doorway of S. Andrea, where a
curiously negro-like head stands out from the middle of a column. It
seems, however, to have acquired its blackness by being used through
several centuries as a torch extinguisher at funerals.

Another of Gruamons' churches in Pistoja is that of S. Giovanni
Evangelista Fuorcivitas, which is extremely interesting as showing a
perfect specimen of the practicable Lombard gallery or outer
ambulatory, which in two orders here surrounds the church. The
building is entirely encrusted with black and white marble, mostly in
alternate lines, but in some places inlaid in chequers. This fashion,
which began in this very city of Pistoja, has an historical
significance, and was introduced as a symbol of the peace between the
factions of Bianchi and Neri, which so long harassed Pistoja. It was
taken up afterwards by Siena and Orvieto, and in Florence and Prato,
when their respective civic feuds were healed.

Gruamons, or Magister Buono, may have been the chief master of the
_laborerium_ at Pistoja with its accompanying _Opera di S. Jacopo_,
which began to keep its registers in 1145. At any rate his family name
was kept up in that lodge for more than a century. The Buoni followed
the usual custom, and sought commissions in other towns. In 1206 we
find one of them restoring and almost rebuilding the cathedral at
Fiesole, which had been built in 1028, in the time of Bishop Jacopo
Bavaro, but was menacing ruin two centuries later. On the sixth column
of the nave, on the right, is inscribed--

     "MCCVI. Indict VIII Bonus Magister Restaurus.
     Operarius Ecclesiæ Fesulanæ Fecit Ædificare
     IIII columnas I. Allex P.P."

Here even at this early date we have the _Opera_ or administration
under the direction of the dignitaries of the cathedral. The tower was
built by a Maestro Michele in 1213. An inscription on the left of the
apse tells us that the building of the tower cost seventy _mancussi_,
a gold coin in use in the Middle Ages.[188] It is supposed that
Maestro Buono copied his church from S. Miniato near Florence. The
plan is nearly identical, and both have the same peculiarity of the
omission of the narthex, or portico, which till this time had been an
indispensable part of the ecclesiastic Basilica. It is true the
Fiesole church is built of stone, and is simple in ornament, while S.
Miniato is of marble and rich in decorations, but in plan and form the
two are identical. In each case the same use has been made of the
older buildings on the site by leaving them as crypts.

   _See page 236._]

The first San Miniato church was built under Charlemagne, by Bishop
Hildebrand in 774; the second was endowed by the Emperor Henry the
Saint, and Saint Cunegonda his wife; both times the patrons were
accustomed to employ the Comacine Masters. In San Miniato we see one
of their masterpieces.

In the thirteenth century another distinguished scion of the Buono
race came down to join the lodge at Pistoja. We have seen Giovanni
Buono, or Zambono as he writes himself, at work at S. Antonio at Padua
in 1264, together with Egidio, son of Magister Graci; Nicola, son of
Giovanni; Ubertino, son of Lanfranco, etc. In 1265 Magister Bonus or
Buono was _capo-maestro_ and architect of the Duomo at Pistoja, and in
1266 he erected the tribune of S. Maria Nuova there, on the cornice of
which he has carved--"A.D. MCCLXVI tempore Parisii Pagni[189] et
Simones, Magister Bonus fecit hoc opus," _i.e._ A.D. 1266, in the time
when Paris Pagni and Simones were _operai_, Magister Bonus executed
this work.

In 1270 Buono was commissioned to make the façade of the church of S.
Salvatore in the same energetic little town. The inscription on the
pretty little façade is--

     "Anno milleno bis centum septuageno
     Hoc perfecit opus qui fertur nomine Bonus
     Præstabant operi Jacobus, Scorcione vocatus
     Et Benvenuti Joannes, quos Deus omnes
     Salvator lenis millis velit augere penis. Amen."

Here we get the names of two _operai_ instead of one. It is evident
that the lodge has increased since Gruamons was head of the
_laborerium_, and Turrisianus head of the _Opera_. According to
custom, one was an eminent Pistojese, and the other a _Magister_. We
find Johannes Benvenuti working with Giovanni in several other cities.

The question we have now to answer is whether this Giovanni Buono, who
was in Pistoja from 1265 to 1270, was the same man who worked at Padua
in 1264, and was afterwards head of the lodge at Parma in 1280? An
indication, if not a lateral proof, is found in studying who were his
companions. At Pistoja in 1264, Nicola, son of Giovanni, was his
assistant, and in 1270 Johannes Benvenuti was with him. At Parma in
1280 we find that Guido, Nicola, Bernardino, and Benvenuto were in the
_laborerium_ when he was chief architect. Here we have at least two of
his companions, not including Guido, with him in the works of all
three cities, which would go far to prove his identity.

The Buono family form a curious connection between Corneto Tarquinia
and Pistoja. We have already spoken of the Ciborium at Corneto,
sculptured by Johannes and Guitto (Guido) in 1168. The pulpit in the
same church, and another at Alba Fucense, are both signed by Giovanni
Buono and Andrea his brother, but date a century later than the
Ciborium, _i.e._ precisely the time of our Giovanni Buono of Pistoja.
The façade of the same church at Corneto Tarquinia is full of Comacine
sculptures; and on the double-arched windows with the tesselated
columns is an epigraph saying that the "inlaid work in porphyry,
serpentine, and _giallo antico_" was done by Nicolao, son of Ranuccio.
Now this must have been the Nicolao who worked under this same
Giovanni Buono in 1280 at Parma, with a certain Guido and Johannes
Benvenuti. Guido was evidently a kinsman of Giovanni Buono, for we
find that in 1285 Albertus, son of Guido Buono, and Albertinus, son of
Enrico Buono, were employed together in the sculptures at S. Pietro at

In any case we have a long connection of the Buono family with the
Opera di S. Jacopo at Pistoja, and shall find them still engaged in
other important works at Pisa and Lucca, besides being chief
architects at Parma and Padua, etc. Two centuries later their
descendants were building fine Gothic works in Venice.

The Baptistery of Pistoja has been attributed to Andrea Pisano, but a
document in the archives of the Opera di S. Jacopo not only shows who
was the real architect, or rather head-master, but proves that it was
done by a Magister Cellini of the Masonic Guild from the lodge at
Siena, who became Grand Master of the lodge at Pistoja. It runs--"Et
per Magistrum Cellinum qui est caput magistrorum edificantium
Ecclesiam rotundam S. Joannis Baptistæ."[190] There also exists in the
archives the contract made between the _Opera_ (administrative
council) and Magister Cellini on July 22, 1339, for the completion and
ornamentation of the building which he had so far constructed. There
is no mention of Andrea Pisano in either deed.

The Pistojan Baptistery is not a very pleasing building. There is
something inharmonious in its proportions. It is of the usual
octagonal form, but too high for its width; the horizontal lines of
white and black marble still further detract from its beauty, and cut
up the ornamentation.

On the whole the architect who wants to study Comacine churches cannot
do so better than at Pistoja, where there is so much of the old work
left. Besides the edifices we have already mentioned, are other two
very interesting churches, S. Piero Maggiore and S. Paolo, although
nothing but the outer shell of either is now remaining.[191] The
architrave of S. Piero Maggiore has a very mediæval relief on it,
representing Christ giving a huge key to St. Peter, while the Apostles
and the Virgin stand in a row beside them. The capital of one pilaster
has a man-faced lion, whose tail forms an interlaced knot. The other
has upstanding volutes of a heavy kind of foliage. Lions lie beneath
the spring of the arch, and winged griffins and other mystic animals
are on brackets along the façade. I think the capitals and mystic
beasts must have belonged to the first Longobardic church built by
Ratpert, son of Guinichisius, in 748, as well as the lower part of the
façade, which is certainly of the most ancient _opus gallicum_, of
large smooth stones closely fitted. The architrave and the upper part,
which consists of an arcade patched on in white and black marble,
belong to Giovanni Buono's restoration in 1263. In old times a curious
ceremony used to take place in this church, which belonged to the
Convent of Benedictine nuns. When a new bishop took possession of the
see, he was espoused (spiritually of course) to the abbess of this
Order, with solemn rites and ceremonies.

S. Paolo was a priory church. This, too, had been built in 748 by the
first Comacines under the Longobards, and evidences still remain that
it was originally turned from east to west, the façade being then
where the choir is now. It was rebuilt when S. Atto was bishop of the
city in 1133, and besides a very pretty frontal, has a good specimen
of the upper external gallery surrounding the church.

I will end my chapter on Pistoja with a mention of an interesting old
MS. from the archives of the Opera di S. Jacopo, which, with Signor
Macciò's aid, we found to be the marriage contract of a certain
Maestro Jacopo Lapi. The bridegroom is named as Jacobus Dominus Lapus,
fili Turdi, di Inghilberti, who wishes to contract marriage with
Marchesana filia Sannutini, and to "live with her according to
Longobardic law." The deed then goes on to specify the lands and
possessions he bestows on his bride as a _morgincap_. This might be
interesting in art history, if it could be proved whether the Jacopo
Lapi were that pupil of Niccolò Pisano's who worked with him and
Arnolfo at Siena in 1266.

In that case it gives the Jacopo Lapi's family an added interest as of
Longobardic origin through his grandfather, Inghilbert. We further
learn by the document that his great-grandmother's name was Molto-cara
(very dear). This, taken together with the name Tordo (thrush) given
to her son, proves how the nickname outweighed the family or baptismal
name in mediæval times.


[156] Thomas Hope, _Historical Essay on Architecture_, chap. xxi.

[157] In the older papers and deeds of Lombard times these were
classically called _colligantes_ or _fratres_; in the later ones they
were Italianized as _fratelli_ or brethren.

[158] See _Tuscan Studies_, by Leader Scott, pp. 18, 19.

[159] Some very early Latin authors write the name Bruschettus.

[160] These two lines, which are partly effaced, have been said to
read originally thus--"Busketus iacet hic qui motibus ingeniorum
Dulichio fertur prevaluisse Duci."

[161] Dædalus was called by the ancients the Father of architecture
and statuary. He was also the inventor of many mechanical appliances.
In short a good prototype of a Comacine Magister.

[162] "Concorsero da straniere parti Maestri piú accreditati a
prestare la loro opera in si importante Edifizio, sotto la direzione
di Buschetto."

[163] Book signed with the number 38, entitled _Santuario Pisano_, in
the archives of the Riformazione, Firenze.

[164] "Ildebrando del Giudice, Uberto Leone, Signoretto Alliata e
Buschetto da Dulichio che fu Architetto; il capo di detti fu
Ildebrando e gli altri furono Ministri e Uffiziali dell' Opera, come
si trova nell' Archivio di detta Opera."

[165] Baldinucci, Dec. 4, sec. 6, p. 292.

[166] Among these were the two porphyry columns now at the door of the
Baptistery in Florence. They were taken by the Pisans 1107 from the
Saracens in Majorca, and as they were especially valuable, being
miraculous, the Florentines claimed them as the spoils of war in 1117.
They were said to guard people against treachery.

[167] There was a Diotisalvi, a Judge at Pisa in the year 1224, and a
Diotisalvi, son of Bentivenga, is mentioned in a deed executed in
1250, in the Port of Pisa. These may have been some of the architect's
distant descendants, but we have no clue as to his ancestors. The name
would seem to have been a nickname, and not his baptismal one, for in
another round church which he built in Pisa, the Knights Templars'
church of S. Sepolcro, it is engraved, "Hugius operis Fabricator
D͞STESALVET nominatur." The author of _Lettere Senesi_ derives the
name from the motto of the Petroni family in Siena.

[168] Morrona, _Pisa Illustrata_, vol. i. p. 383.

[169] Vasari, edited by Milanesi, vol. i. p. 137.

[170] Morrona, _Pisa Illustrata_, vol. i. pp. 142, 143.

[171] Morrona, _Pisa Illustrata_, vol. i. p. 407. "Si trova in antiche
scritture dell' Opera, che fu la vigilia di S. Lorenzo il giorno, in
cui fu dato principio alla fabbrica; e son precisamente indicati i due
citati Architetti, se non che in vece di Guglielmo Tedesco, si dice
Giovanni Onnipotente di Germania per la mala interpetrazione della
parola Oenipons, o Oenipontanus, che significa nativo d'Innspruck."

[172] Morrona, _Pisa Illustrata nelle arti_, vol. i. p. 170.

[173] _Ibid._ vol. ii. pp. 106-211.

[174] From "_Una scultura di Bonaiuto Pisano_," in _Archivio storico
Siciliano_, Nuova Serie, Anno IX., pp. 438-443, 1884.

[175] Ciampi, _Archivio del Duomo di Pisa_.

[176] The inscription, still preserved in the passage leading to the
sacristy of the church, runs thus--


[177] Ridolfi, _Guida di Lucca_, p. 10.

[178] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. vi. p. 193.

[179] _S. Martin von Lucca, und die Anfänge der Toscanischen Sculptur
im Mittelalter_, von August Schmarsow, pp. 56, 57. Breslau, 1890.

[180] Cav. F. Tolomei, _Guida di Pistoja_, p. 74. Pistoja, 1821.

[181] Doctor to King Desiderius.

[182] Reproduced in Muratori's _Rerum Italicum_, verse 636 _et seq._--

     "Inteluum scandunt et amicos insimul addunt
     ... veniunt properantes
     Artificesque, boni nimium satis ingeniosi;
     Strenuus inter quosque rogatus adesse Joannes
     Quinque Bonus de Vesonzo cognomine dictus."

[183] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. iv. pp. 161, 162.

[184] Vasari, _Life of Arnolfo di Lapo_.

[185] _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. iv. p. 162.

[186] Milanesi, quoting other experts, says that when IX. is placed
between hundreds and units it signifies 90, consequently the date is

[187] One only has to glance at the names of the well-known artists to
see how common this use of nicknames was. We have Masaccio (the bad
Thomas); Cronaca, whose real name was Pollajuolo; Domenico Bigordi,
called Ghirlandajo; the iron-worker Niccolò Grossi, called Caparra;
Antonio Allegri, called Correggio; Francesco Barbieri, known as
Guercino; Alessandro Buonvicino, called Moretto da Brescia (the dark
man from Brescia); Pietro Vanucci, Perugino; Andrea Vanucchi, del
Sarto; Michelangelo Amerighi, nicknamed Caravaggio; Domenico Zampieri,
styled Domenichino; and hundreds of others. No doubt the Buschetto
architect of Pisa was only another instance; probably he had a shock
head of hair and was nicknamed "the little bush."

[188] Marchese Ricci, _Dell' Architettura in Italia_, Vol. I. cap. ii.
p. 485, note 40.

[189] The name of this councillor of the _Opera_ still exists in
Lucca, where are more than one family of Pagni.

[190] Tolomei, _Guida di Pistoja per gli amanti delle belle arti_,
1821.--Pistoja, p. 38 (note).

[191] S. Paolo was destroyed by fire in 1896, only the outer walls
having escaped.



When the romantic style of building, which the Comacine Masters had
imbibed in Sicily, came in, their serious set-by-rule building went
out. The first use they made of their new ideas was to increase the
richness of decoration, and this they did by the almost childish
expedient of multiplying their old ornaments. Instead of one little
pillared gallery on the top of a façade, they now put whole rows of
galleries, or covered the fronts all over with them, as in Lucca,
Pisa, and Arezzo. There is a very early instance of this in the church
of Santa Maria at Ancona, of which we give an illustration. Here the
network of arches are not real galleries, but only sculpturesque
simulations; each arch is simply placed on the top of the other,
without architrave or frieze. The doorway has the usual Comacine
interlaced knots and no lions, so the façade may stand as an early
sample of the transition into Romanesque, dating about the eleventh

The style shows a much further advance in Magister Marchionni's façade
to the church of Santa Maria della Pieve at Arezzo, which is a fine
sample of Romanesque. It was done in 1216. The façade has four rows of
arches, one on the other, "growing small by degrees and beautifully
less" as they ascend. Of all the hundred columns which support them,
no two are alike. They are round, square, octagonal, sexagonal,
pentagonal, multi-angular, fluted, twisted, grotesque, crooked,
Byzantine, Corinthian, Ionic, Doric, Gothic, Egyptian, Babylonian,
caryatid, black, green, white, striped, or inlaid. Some have single
bases, a round on a square, or _vice versâ_, and so on _ad infinitum_.
Yet with all this variety there is a certain unity of design, which
bespeaks a multitude of Masters, each one using his own fancy in his
particular part of the work, but one chief to whose general design the
masters of the parts are subservient. Ruskin realized the beauty of
this variety of idea, though he had not perceived that it came from a
multitude of minds working together, when he said--"The more
conspicuous the irregularities are, the greater the chance of its
being a good style." And again--"The traceries, capitals, and other
ornaments must be of perpetually varied designs."

  [Illustration: CHURCH OF S. MARIA, ANCONA.
   _See page 242._]

The very same style and variety, showing a multiplex manufacture, is
displayed by the cathedral, and the church of San Michele at Lucca,
and the old church of San Michele in Borgo at Pisa. The two Lucca ones
are extremely enriched by friezes of the symbolic animals above each
row of arches. The cathedral and tower of Pisa show greater unity of

The next great change was, that after the eleventh century, the
interlaced work, or Solomon's knot, was no longer the secret sign of
the Comacine work. They probably found that there was a limit even to
the combinations of the interlaced line, or that it did not give
enough relief. Certain it is, that on the rise of Romanesque
architecture, the _intreccio_ faded away into mere mouldings, or got
changed into foliaged scrolls for architraves; but the mystic knot
with neither beginning nor end was no more used with special
significance. The rounded sculpture of figures was everywhere
replacing low relief, and the Comacine sign and seal of this epoch,
was the Lion of Judah. From this time forward for the 400 years that
Romanesque and Gothic architecture lasted, there is, I believe,
scarcely a church built by the great Masonic Guild in which the Lion
of Judah was not prominent.

My own observations have led me to the opinion that in Romanesque or
Transition architecture, _i.e._ between A.D. 1000 and 1200, the lion
is to be found between the columns and the arch--the arch resting upon
it. In Italian Gothic, _i.e._ from A.D. 1200 to 1500, it is placed
beneath the column. In either position its significance is evident. In
the first, it points to Christ as the door of the Church. In the
second, to Christ the pillar of faith springing from the tribe of
Judah. Thus at Lucca, Pisa, and Arezzo, where the guild worked in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries, the lion is always above the column.
In Verona, Como, Modena, and where Italian Gothic porches were added
in the thirteenth century, and in Florence, Siena, Orvieto, where the
cathedrals date from the fourteenth century, you find the lion beneath
the column. And in minor works of sculpture there is the same
difference. In the pulpit of Sant' Ambrogio at Milan, the lions are
beneath the spring of the arches; in the pulpits of Niccolò Pisano at
Siena and Guido di Como (thirteenth century) at Pistoja, they are
beneath the column.

A most beautiful instance of the transition between Lombard and
Romanesque is in the door of the church of San Giusto at Lucca, dating
from the twelfth century. The architrave is a grand _intreccio_ of oak
branches while the pilasters, which form the door-jambs, have
richly-carved capitals of mixed acanthus leaves and Ionic volutes,
with a mystic beast clinging to each. The arch superimposed on the
architrave has a rich scroll of cherubs and foliage, and it rests on
two huge lions. It is altogether a perfect Comacine design.

The next change in the sculpture of the Comacine Masters was the
humanization of their sculpture. The rude old carvings of symbolical
beasts no longer satisfied them. Christianity had now endured a
thousand years and was understood, so that it was no longer needful
to use parables and mystic signs. They still made the fronts of their
churches Bibles in stone, as they had done before; only the Bible was
in a language all could read, _i.e._ the sculptured story. From Adam
and Eve to Christ and the Virgin, and even the least of the Saints,
the Comacine put all Scripture upon his church. His Bible lay open
that all might read.

   _See page 244._]

The representation of the human figure was at first heavy and
disproportionate, but as the centuries passed on, it grew in grace;
and sculptors were able to express their conceptions more completely.
The animal symbolism did not, however, entirely disappear. It is seen
in every quaint fancy of the Gothic artist of the north, in every
naïve bit of church ornamentation in the south; but it is no longer
the object and end of design. It had become subservient; the human
figure now took the first place.

In the earlier transition stage, even this actual representation was
more or less allegorical. As an interesting instance of the
allegorical nature of Comacine sculpture, we may take the relief of
the Crucifixion in the cathedral at Parma (third chapel on the right),
carved by Benedetto da Antelamo in 1178. In this almost mediæval
relief, the artist has managed to put a symbolical history of the
greatest events of his own times--the defeat of Barbarossa, the fall
of Victor Antipope, the triumph of Pope Alexander III., the cessation
of schism, and the gleams of coming peace on Italy. Around the cross
where Christ hangs, he represents the Church as a symbolic personage
waving the flag of victory; and the schismatic enemy with his banner
broken. Every figure in the composition has its meaning, and the whole
displays a thinking mind, even though the hand be still a little heavy
and mediæval. That this is a veritable Comacine work the sculptor
himself has chronicled. On the top of the relief is written in the
Lombard Gothic characters--

     "Anno milleno centeno septuageno
     Octavo scultor patravit M͠se secundo
     Antelami dictus scultor fuit, hic Benedictus."

An old chronicler of the sixteenth century tells us that this relief
once ornamented an ambone or pulpit supported on four columns, which
was destroyed in 1566.

Another very interesting work is the font for immersion in S. Frediano
at Lucca, sculptured by Maestro Roberto in the twelfth century. The
figures which surround it are as usual full of meaning but grotesque
in proportion; though one can see in the draperies a foreshadowing of
that return to classicality which Niccolò Pisano afterwards advanced
towards perfection. We have here a queer representation of Adam and
Eve, both clad in classical garments and standing by a conventional
fig tree, out of which looks the head of the Eternal Father in a cloud
like a medallion. Eve is clutching the tail of a monstrous serpent. In
the next compartment the four Evangelists carry their emblems on their
shoulders. St. Mark, with his lion, sits in a curule chair, and looks
like a Roman Prefect, mediævalized. St. John has his eagle standing on
a Roman altar beside him, while St. Matthew carries the child on his
shoulder like a St. Christopher. As the work of a forerunner of
Niccolò Pisano in the same brotherhood, the font is intensely

The cathedral at Beneventum (one of the Lombard dukedoms) has some
beautiful Comacine arabesques on the pilasters of the great door. We
give an illustration from one of them. The interlaced maze is formed
by a conventional vine, in the branches of which are symbolical
animals. Here is the Lamb of God, signed as divine and eternal by
numberless circles all over it. The eagle, symbol of faith, is
strangling sin in the form of a serpent; above, is a calf, emblem of
the Christian, overcoming evil in the form of a bird of prey. In
meaning, the intention is the same as the old sculptures on San
Michele, executed six centuries previously; but speaking
technically, sculpture as an art has advanced greatly. There is rich
and clear relief, and intelligibility of design in this work.

   _See page 246._]

Symonds,[192] speaking of this stage of art, says--"The so-called
Romanesque and Byzantine styles were but the dotage of second
childhood (it was a childhood which grew and developed into virility,
however), fumbling with the methods and materials of an irrevocable
past. It is true indeed that unknown mediæval carvers had shown an
instinct for the beautiful, as well as great fertility of grotesque
invention. The façades of Lombard churches are covered with fanciful
and sometimes forcibly dramatic groups of animals and men in contest;
and contemporaneously with Niccolò Pisano, many Gothic sculptors of
the north were adorning the façades and porches of cathedrals with
statuary unrivalled in one style of loveliness. Yet the founder of a
line of progressive artists had not arisen, and except in Italy the
conditions were still wanting under which alone the plastic arts could
attain independence." Here Symonds goes on to speak of Niccolò Pisano,
as the fountain-head of sculpture.

And now we can no longer evade the knotty question of who and what
Niccolò was, where did he arise from, and where was he trained in art?

There are always those conflicting documents which Milanesi found to
be reconciled. The first, in the archives of the Opera di S. Jacopo at
Pistoja, dated July 11, 1272, which runs--_Magister Nichola pisanus,
filius Petri de_--(here is an illegible word which Ciampi reads as
_Senis_[193]). He chose this reading because another document dated
November 13, 1272, styles "Niccolò" Magister Nichola, quondam Petri de
(Senis) Ser Blasii pisa ... (_hiatus_).

Milanesi, however, who found at Siena the contract for Niccolò's
pulpit there, dated October 5, 1266, says the word _Senis_ should be
read _Sancti_, for in the Sienese contract the words are
plainly--_Magister Niccolus de parroccia ecclesie sancti Blasii de
ponte de Pisis, etc. etc._ In another document also at Siena, in which
Niccolò is commanded to send for his pupil Arnolfo to work with him,
we get _Magistrum Nicholam de Apulia_. In two others of the next year,
_Magister Niccholus olim Petri lapidum de Pisis_. Now all this is very
puzzling, and yet being documentary it must all be true. We will put
Siena entirely out of the question, the word proving to be a
misreading of _Sancti_, so that instead of the second document meaning
Niccolò son of the late Peter son of Ser Blasius or Biagio of Siena,
it must read Niccolò son of Peter of the parish of St. Blasius at
Pisa. We have then the two different nationalities of his father
Pietro--Pisa and Apulia--to account for. Milanesi suggests that Apulia
means a little place near Lucca called Puglia.

The further light we have found thrown on the peregrinations of
_Magistri_ of the guild may assist us to reconcile the conflicting
statements. It is certain, as we said before, that Niccolò Pisano was
a _Magister_ of the guild, and being a man of genius he became one of
its most important members. His membership was moreover hereditary;
his father had been also a _Magister lapidum_. Now the Comacines had a
lodge in Apulia, from the time of the Longobards, and traces of it
still remained after 1100, in a small colony in the valley of Æterno,
which preserved as a kind of monopoly the art of building.[194]

   _See page 246._]

The church of S. Sofia at Beneventum, A.D. 788, and the monastery of
S. Pietro were built by them, as well as the later cathedrals of
Trani, Bari, and Ruvo. The latter still retains its ancient Lombard
façade covered with figures of animals, the portal being flanked by
columns surmounted by a fine rose window. When the Normans succeeded
the Longobards and Saracens in Apulia, the Masonic Guild was
still more busy there, and it was very probable that Pietro the
sculptor worked in Apulia under the Norman dynasty, with many of his
brethren. I am told that there is in Bari cathedral a pulpit of the
same form as that by Niccolò, but of an earlier date. This is a
significant proof of Niccolò's early training in Apulia, probably
under his own father, as was the custom of the guild. It would also
account for the Saracenic touch in his arches and ornamentation. The
lions under the columns were used by the Masonic Guild a century
before Niccolò's time, so it is evident they were not, as Ruskin and
others suppose, borrowed from the Saracens by Niccolò. There is a most
interesting pulpit of the older square form at Groppoli near Pistoja,
dated 1194, with lions beneath the pillars. It offers one of the very
early specimens of the sculptured scriptural story. The panels
represent the "Nativity of Christ" and the "Flight into Egypt," both
most naïvely designed. The square pulpit of Guido da Como in S.
Bartolommeo at Pistoja is dated A.D. 1250, and shows the immense
improvement art had made in those sixty years. In some ways Guido da
Como quite equals Niccolò. He does not strain after the classic, but
there is great and simple dignity, and even grace in his figures, some
of which are almost worthy of Fra Angelico. It was ten years after
Guido's lion-pillared pulpit was finished, that we find Niccolò--who
had for some years been working at Pisa, where he was then
domiciled--sculpturing his famous pulpit there, and though altering
the form from square to octagon, using the same symbolism, and in many
ways the same treatment of his subject, as Guido had done before him.
It would be a suggestive proof of the same influence in training, to
compare the panels representing the Nativity, in the three pulpits.
The Lombard one at Groppoli, Guido da Como's at Pistoja, and Niccolò's
at Pisa, and one might add a fourth, _i.e._ Giovanni Pisano's pulpit
in S. Andrea at Pistoja, which is in some respects an advance on his
father's design, although it is evidently not only inspired, but
almost copied from it. There are in all four, the same kind of
_lectis_ for bed, the same cows, out of perspective, high up in the
background, and in the two last the same treatment of drapery. In some
ways, however, Niccolò has passed far beyond Guido. While Guido
followed his forefathers' traditions, Niccolò had been first revelling
in the richness of Saracenic types in Apulia, and then living among
the classic spoils of Pisa, where Diotisalvi had worked before him.

   _See page 249._]

His school at Pisa inaugurated a revival which was to change art for
all the world. Yet it was only a step and not a sudden leap. He was no
ancestorless genius springing from darkness and chaos, but a link in
the chain of art from which in him a new strand departed, leading
towards Donatello and Ghiberti. He took the forms of his sect, but
improved and freed them; he held to the traditional symbolism of his
guild, but classicized and enriched it. His greatest advance was in
the modelling of the human figure, and here his classic models helped
him. One suspects that he depended much on those models, for where he
had no antique to copy from, he degenerated into the mediævalism of
his fraternity. The mixture of the two styles is very apparent in the
different panels of his pulpit, some of which look as if they had come
from Antonine's column, while others are heavier and less graceful by
far than Guido da Como's simple natural figures. The fact was, that in
his time the whole guild was developing under the freer conditions of
art, and Niccolò was one of its leading masters, and endowed with
especial talent.

With him the Romanesque period closes, and the Italian Gothic begins.
Led by him the Comacines in Tuscany left the rude, distorted images
and meaningless monsters behind, and marched on towards the perfection
of sculpture of the human form as shown by Donatello and Michael

   _See page 250._]

Among the Comacines in Lombardy the same change was in progress.
Jacopo Porrata, working at nearly the same time, carved the life-like
prophets and bas-relief on the façade of the cathedral of Cremona,
which bears the legend, "Magister Jacobus Porrata de Cumis fecit hanc

Antonio de Frix of Como, working in concert with Meo di Checco, carved
the beautiful roof of the Duomo at Ferrara, while other Masters were
sculpturing sacred stories on pulpits and doorways, vestibules and
decorations in many a church which their forerunners had built.

With the development of the Gothic, the guild again changed the style
of their ornamentation.

The pointed gable over the circular arch was one of the first signs of
this change. You see it in Siena, Orvieto, Florence, and the
fourteenth-century porches in Lombardy.

The gable gave an opening for statuary, floriated crockets, and ornate
pinnacles; the pointed arch opened a way to beautiful tracery; the
upward shaft and pilaster afforded space for the ornate tabernacle or
saint-filled niche; for the sculptor-architect never let an inch go
plain which could be effectively sculptured.

Between the solid Lombard round arch and the pointed traceried one
stands the cusping of the circular arch. Ruskin credits Niccolò Pisano
also with this; saying grandiloquently that "in the five cusped arches
of Niccolò's pulpit you see the first Gothic Christian architecture
... the change, in a word, for all Europe, from the Parthenon to
Amiens cathedral. For Italy it means the rise of her Gothic
dynasty--it means the Duomo of Milan instead of the Temple of
Paestum."[195] This is very poetic, but it will not bear analysis.
The cusps of Niccolò's arches were by no means the first to be seen in
Italy; we find them in several churches of the twelfth century; and as
for Amiens cathedral, that was nearly completed when Niccolò's pulpit
was carved.

The cusping of the round arch came up from the south; it was suggested
to the Comacines by the Saracenic architecture, as a variety on their
usual twin archlets under a round arch, and was used some time before
they adopted the pointed arch.

The first real Italian step to the pointed Gothic began at Assisi, in
the hands of Jacopo il Tedesco, and his fellow-countryman, Fra Filippo
di Campello, or Campiglione. Jacopo stands to Italian Gothic
architecture in the same place as Niccolò Pisano stands to Renaissance
sculpture. In Italy, the land of classic Rome, true Gothic never
developed in the form in which we see it further north. Her finest
buildings retained in parts the older forms, and with the humanism of
the classic revival of literature, a classic revival of architecture
also took place. The Gothic style in Italy was strangled in its
infancy by Bramante and Michael Angelo. Even Milan, though a glorious
Gothic building, was masked and disfigured by a Renaissance front,
with its straight lines and geometric pediments.

The Germans and French, taking the germ from Italy, developed it
magnificently; and it is fortunate that they had broken the bonds of
the old Masonic brotherhood, and nationalized themselves and their art
in time to keep their Gothic forms pure.

If we should attempt to particularize examples of Italian Gothic
ornamentation, volumes would not be enough. We will be content with a
few instances of sculpture by the Lombard guild at this epoch.

   (_From a photograph by Giannini, Florence._)   _See page 258._]

Some beautiful illustrations of their allegorical style are to be
seen in studying the capitals of the colonnade of the Ducal Palace at
Venice, some of which were by Bartolommeo Buono, son of the
fifteenth-century Zambono or Giovanni Buono. We give an illustration
of one with allegorical representations of the classical goddesses,
Venus, Minerva, and Juno, throned in acanthus leaves. Minerva looks
like a mediæval school-mistress as she teaches Hebe and the Loves,
from a ponderous tome. The famous Adam and Eve capital, of which
Ruskin writes so eloquently, was probably by the same hand.
Bartolommeo's best carving was in his "Porta della Carta," the door of
the Grand Ducal Palace, next San Marco, which is rich in the extreme,
and is signed on the architrave "Opus Bartolommei."

Bartolommeo's father, Giovanni Buono, was the head architect of the
beautiful "Ca' d'oro," and here the richness of decorative sculpture
under florid Gothic forms reaches its height.

The family Buono came from Campione, and I think it probable that this
was the same Bartolommeo da Campione whose name is on several of the
Gothic capitals of Milan cathedral. We give an illustration of one of
them, which is extremely rich in statues and pinnacles.

The rapid march from the early pointed towards florid Gothic
sculpture, is evidenced in a remarkable manner by the tombs of the
Scaligers in Verona. The monument to Mastino II., who died in 1351, by
Magister Porino or Perino, is only a quarter of a century previous to
that of Can Grande, who died in 1375, which was by Bonino da
Campione.[196] Yet between the two there lies an immense development
of style. In Perino's work there are the seeds of all the forms in
Bonino's, but in one the Gothic style is undeveloped, in the other it
is in full flower.

Perino has his columns; his cusped pointed arches with high gables
above them; his tabernacles, pinnacles, and pyramidal roof, with an
equestrian statue on the summit; but his lines are simple, direct, and
unbroken, though enriched here and there with reliefs and figures. In
Bonino's the columns are richly carved, the arches lavishly cusped,
the tympanum filled with sculptured medallions. The tabernacles are
richer and more emphatically Gothic in their lengthened lines and
multiplied pinnacles. The figures even have grown into more true
proportions, and are elongated into gracefulness. Every inch of the
whole design is foliated and rich to a degree--as beautiful a bit of
Gothic sculpture as any German or English cathedral can show, but yet
the work of pure Italians, and men of the Comacine Guild.

The sepulchral monument of Gian Galeazzo Visconti in the Certosa of
Pavia is of an entirely different style to those of the Scaligers. It
is principally the work of Gio. Antonio Amedeo, and has the same
ornate Renaissance style as the façade of the Certosa in which he
assisted. An arched base contains the sarcophagus, on which rests the
beautiful and dignified figure of the Duke, guarded at head and foot
by classic angels. Above this is a statue of the Virgin and Child in a
central niche, flanked by reliefs of scenes from the life of the Duke.
The whole surface of the marble is covered with sculpture, but of a
style removed as far as the poles from the work of the Comacine Guild,
800 years back. There all was life and _naïveté_, here all is
classical decorum and convention. Pilasters covered with armour and
coats of mail like a Roman trophy, friezes of set garlands and shields
like a Roman pediment, vases with conventional plants rising stiffly
out of them. The severe architectural lines are straight and unbroken;
here are no Gothic pinnacles and graceful shrines, no ornamental
gables or pyramids, only the plain arch and pediment classically
set and correct. The Italians had revived the Roman; and the
Renaissance style was the result. Comacine art began with true Roman,
and ended with a return to a false classicism, that with rule and line
crushed out the life of the rich Gothic floriation.

   _See page 253._]


[192] Symonds, _The Renaissance, etc. Fine Arts_, chap. iii. p. 77.

[193] Ciampi, _Notizie inedite della Sagrestia Pistojese_. Firenze.

[194] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. v. p. 177.

[195] Ruskin, _Val d'Arno_, p. 17.

[196] This must have been another scion of the Buoni family, probably
a small man, and therefore called "Little Buono."



The Comacines were always fine fortress builders from the early times,
when they fortified not only their own island and city against the
Goths, and against their civil foes at Milan, etc., but also other
cities which had foes to keep off. Their towers and forts were so
solid and strong that their builders were taken by Justinian to the
East to build castles there, with the strong battlemented walls which
aroused Procopius's admiration, and which he confesses were called
_Castelli_, because that was the Italian name for them.

After the eleventh century, when the Communes were formed, the
building of the fortress was less frequent, and the Communal Palace
took its place. The guild was always gradual in its adoption of new
styles, and the palace of the Podestà or the "Signoria" differed only
in form, and not in style, from the older castle. There is the same
solid masonry--either _opus Gallicum_ of smoothly-hewn stones fitted
with nicety, or _opus Romanum_ of flat wide bricks welded together
with cement till they are strong as a Roman wall. There are the same
battlements and cornice of arches supported on brackets; and wherever
a window is needed, high enough to be safe without an iron grating, it
is invariably of the old Lombard form, with its two round arches
enclosed in a larger one. There was the same pillared courtyard with
its flight of steps to the upper floor. Jacopo Tedesco's Bargello
at Florence, his Castle at Poppi, and his Palazzo Pubblico at Arezzo
are the most beautiful examples of this style.

   _See page 253._]

Arnolfo's Palazzo Vecchio, the Palazzo of the Commune at Siena, and
the Palazzo Pubblico at Pistoja show the next step towards a less
military style. There still remains much of the fortress, in the
solidity and rigidity of the masonry below, and the battlemented lines
above, but the tower is no longer a solid weapon of war; it becomes an
airy ornamental shrine for a peaceful civic bell, that rings for the
joys and sorrows of the people.

These buildings may stand as the fair examples of the work of the
Masonic Guild for the thirteenth century; in the fourteenth and
fifteenth the style changed gradually towards less rigid lines. The
windows were widened and cusped, and the arches over the archlets of
the windows became pointed; a gable with crockets placed above the
windows still further lightened the effect, and emphasized the new
Gothic influence. The ancient Palace of the Priors and Palazzo del
Popolo, which stand close together at Todi, of which we give an
illustration, show this progress in a very marked degree. There is
just the difference between the two buildings that there lies between
the palace of King Desiderius at S. Gemignano, and the Palazzo Vecchio
of Florence. The Palazzo Pubblico, at Perugia, with its noble
Ringhiera and Loggia, might be taken as the culminating point of
Romanesque civil building. Its principal doorway is a masterpiece of
Comacine work. The Masters have set their sign of the lion beneath the
column, but both lion and pillar are secularized; instead of the
ecclesiastic column, here is a square pilaster with niches containing
graceful figures of the civic virtues--justice, mercy, fortitude,
charity, etc. In the tympanum of the arch stand three bishops, and
over the architrave two other lions on brackets mark the spring of the
arch. The door is surrounded with course upon course of beautiful
mouldings, arabesques, and spirals rich in the extreme. Though
exceptionally beautiful, yet if one compares this Palazzo Pubblico of
Perugia with other public edifices of its time in Italy, the
similarities are such that one cannot deny that a single influence
must have dominated them all.

In the Palazzo Pubblico at Udine, which was later, being built in the
fifteenth century by Giovanni Fontana of Melide (Master of Palladio)
and Matteo his son, we get the link between these Romanesque civil
buildings and the Venetian Gothic. The upper windows have still the
Lombard columns, but the little arches are more ornately cusped and
gothicized. The colonnade forming the Ringhiera is formed of decidedly
pointed arches. There is in this a marked affinity to the Venetian
architecture, and its origin accounts for it. The Fontanas were much
employed at Venice, and worked with the Lombardi, to whom Venice is
indebted for so much of her beautiful Gothic civil architecture. In
_cinquecento_ times there was a great call on the Masonic Guild for
palaces. The republics had begun to fade into principalities, wealth
and aristocracy again got the upper hand. The great churches were
already built, and so to employ the many great Masters of architecture
and sculpture whose families had for generations beautified Italian
cities, the dominant families in them vied with each other in palace

   _See page 257._]

In Florence the Medici led the way, the Strozzi following them close.
Then all the other old families, Guicciardini, Rinuccini, Antinori,
Borghini, etc., also called in the masters of the Florentine Guild to
make them palaces. Cronaca, Sangallo, Baccio d'Agnolo, all names whose
ancestors were well known at either Siena, Orvieto, or in Lombardy,
made the plans and directed the works. And one who compares these
palaces one with another, cannot but confess that different as were
the hands that fashioned them, one type and one style shows through
them all, which is to say that the architects were all brethren of the
same guild, and had received the same training. The Florentine palace
bore on its face the imprint of its race; you can trace it gradually
from the Brolio of Lombard times, through the mediæval fortress, and
the republican public palace. Here in the Riccardi and Strozzi, the
Pitti and Guadagni Palaces, is the same solidity of architecture; but
instead of the smooth hewn blocks, the huge stones are left rough,
_alla rustica_.[197] Here are the same shaped windows, enlarged and
beautified with tracery and mullion in place of the ancient column,
but directly derived from the older form. Here is the ancient crown of
Lombard archlets diminished into a rich cornice; it is only in the
older buildings that the battlements are seen above, as in the Palazzo

In the interior the cortile, with its arched and pillared _loggie_
around it, holds its own in the centre of the building. There is
little change of form between the Court of the Palazzo Vecchio in 1299
and the Riccardi, Strozzi, and a score of other private palaces of the
fifteenth century. The _loggia_, which was such an important feature
in the private house of the Republic, is now either relegated to the
garden front or the upper storey, where it is a delight to the family
itself, and is no longer the public meeting-place. This is a
difference entirely depending on a changed state of society.

As in Florence, so it was in Milan, Venice, and other cities where
Masonic lodges were established in the great church-building era. The
nobles employed the builders whose hands were craving for work. And
what palaces they built, and what a wealth of rich Gothic decoration
they lavished on them! We are indebted for most of the Venetian Gothic
palaces to the Buoni and Lombardi families, whose course we have
traced in the chapter on Venice. The Renaissance buildings belong
chiefly to the members of the Florentine Lodge, such as Sansovino and
San Michele, who went to Venice in the sixteenth century.

At Rome, where the Pope's rule was absolute, there was less
palace-building, but the Lombard Guild was employed greatly in their
old branch of fortress and bridge building. The Masters Bartolommeo
and Bertrando of Como were engaged by Pope Pius II. to strengthen the
fortifications of S. Angelo. Maestro Antonio of Como built the Ponte
Lucano, Maestro Antonio da Castiglione the Ponte Mammolo and Ponte
Molle. Maestro Manfredo da Como was commissioned by Pius II. to build
a new fortress on the heights of Tivoli to defend the valley of the
Anio from incursions on the Abruzzi side. The following entries from
the registers prove Maestro Manfredo's employment there--

"1461. August 12. Twenty-five ducats given to the treasurer by command
of his Holiness, to be paid to Maestro Manfred the Lombard, to begin
the castle of Tivoli (_roccha di Tiboli_)."

"1462. May 14. To Maestro Manfredino, builder, 200 gold florins on
account of the works at the fortress of Tivoli."

"1462. October 6. 400 _ducats di camera_ to Master Manfredino the
Lombard, who works at the castle of Tivoli."[198]

   _See page 257._]

Master Manfred with Paolo da Campagnano, both Comacines, built the
Ponte Sisto, which has been erroneously attributed to Baccio Pontelli.

Pope Sixtus IV. employed Giovanni di Dolci to build the citadel of
Civita Vecchia, which Baccio Pontelli finished after Giovanni's death.
Antonio di Giovanni da Canobbio built the fort at Zolfanella in the
same reign, while Francesco di Pietro da Triviago, Francesco da Como,
and Giorgio Lombardo were joint architects of the castle at Santa
Marmella. So we see that nearly all the papal forts were the work of
Lombards connected with the Roman Lodge. In their own native hills the
Lombards were doing similar works.

   _See page 257._]

   _See page 257._]

In A.D. 1500 Maestro Jacopo Dagurro da Bissone, who was a most able
engineer, constructed a splendid viaduct, forty-eight metres long,
over the Natisone, among the rocks and beetling cliffs of Civitale in


[197] This rustic style is carried to an eccentric excess in some
buildings of the seventeenth century, such as the Parliament House
(Palazzo Monte Citorio) at Rome, and Zucchari's house in Florence. In
Monte Citorio the window-sills are hewn and shaped smoothly for half
their length, the other half being left in the rough. Zucchari has
done the same with his door-lintels and window-panels. The effect is
an incongruity, not pleasing to the eye.

[198] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. II. ch. xxxviii. p. 420.





Painting is not generally supposed to be connected in any great degree
with architecture: indeed it has now become a distinctly independent
art. In the Middle Ages I believe the case was different. The great
primitive Comacine Guild seems to have embraced all the decorative
arts, though especially sculpture, as integral branches of
architecture. There are indisputable proofs of the many-sided nature
of the training in a Comacine _laborerium_. There were _Magistri
insigneriorum_, or Master architects; _Magistri lapidum_, or
sculptors, and _Magistri lignorum_, or master carpenters. These latter
seem in old times to have been the designers of scaffoldings and
makers of beams for roofing; wood-carvers and inlayers were called
_Maestri d'intaglio_. Then there were certainly ironworkers and
masters in metal, and fresco-painters, who also attained to the rank
of Master. But no one branch was entirely separate from the others,
until the fourteenth century, when the painters' companies were
founded. We find the same man building, designing, sculpturing,
painting, and even working in gold or iron, and seeming equally good
in all styles, so that the training of the _laborerium_ must have been
especially comprehensive.

The reason appears to be that all the fine arts--painting, sculpture
and metal-working--were considered by the Comacines as indispensable
handmaids to architecture, and no builder was in their eyes fit to be
a Master till he could not only erect his edifice, but adorn it. Their
symbolic church was to them a kind of Bible, figuring all the points
of creeds, but the building itself was but the paper and binding of
the Bible; the sculptor put the frontispiece which explained its inner
meaning, and the mosaicist and fresco-painter added as it were the
letter-press and illustrations. The churches of Ravenna show how full
and rich was this inner illustration, how Christ and the Apostles,
angels and prophets, saints and martyrs, have shone on those walls, a
beautiful Bible picture-book for ages. That this was the light in
which the early Christians regarded their churches is plain from many
passages in the early Fathers. St. Basil (A.D. 379) in preaching,
says--"Rise up, now, I pray you, ye celebrated painters of the good
deeds of this army. Make glorious by your art the mutilated images of
their leader. With colours laid on by your cunning, make illustrious
the crowned martyr, by me too feebly pictured. I retire vanquished
before you in your painting of the excellences of the martyr, etc.

   _See pages 10 and 268._]

Here is the description of a Christian shrine by St. Gregory of Nyssa
(fourth century)--"Whoso cometh unto some spot like this, where there
is a monument of the just and a holy relic, his soul is gladdened by
the magnificence of what he beholds, seeing a house as God's temple
elaborated most gloriously, both in the magnitude of the structure,
and the beauty of the surrounding ornament. There the artificer has
fashioned wood into the shape of animals; and the stone-cutter has
polished the slabs to the smoothness of silver; and the painter has
introduced the flowers of his art, depicting and imaging the constancy
of the martyrs, their resistance, their torments, the savage forms
of their tyrants, their outrages, the blazing furnace and the most
blessed end of the champion; the representation of Christ in human
form presiding over the contest--all these things as it were in a book
gifted with speech; shaping for us by means of colours, has he
cunningly discoursed to us of the martyr's struggles, has made this
temple glorious as some brilliant fertile mead. For the silent tracery
on the walls has the art to discourse, and to aid most powerfully. And
he who has arranged the mosaics has made this pavement on which we
tread equal to a history." (From Father Mulroody's translation, in
_San Clemente_, pp. 34, 35. St. Gregory wrote before A.D. 395.[200])

No doubt the richness of colour in these Byzantine mosaics inspired
the taste for pictorial embellishment in the interiors of buildings,
and the Comacines, not having Greek mosaicists at command, found an
easier and quicker method of writing their scriptures on their
walls--_i.e._ fresco. The first mention of frescoes is of those in the
palace of Theodolinda, where her Lombards were portrayed on the walls.
Several Lombard churches also retain signs of having been frescoed.

But if one desires to see what the early Christian Comacine could do
in fresco, let him go to that interesting Roman church of San
Clemente, where some excavations made in 1857 revealed the ancient
fourth-century Basilica, almost complete under the present one, which
dates from about the twelfth century. This ancient church was built by
St. Clement, the third bishop of Rome, and in it Gregory the Great
read his thirty-second and thirty-eighth homilies. From the
subterranean remains, with their grand ancient marble pillars and the
huge semi-circle of the tribune, masked and built in though they are
by the foundations of the upper church, we judge that it was a far
finer building than the one above. Its walls were moreover covered
with frescoes, some of which are precisely similar in style to the
ones at S. Piero a Grado, also said to date before the tenth century.
The frescoes, which have been discovered on the subterranean walls,
are, as will be seen by our illustrations of them, in three rows,
which appear to be of three different eras--two certainly. The upper
band of saints and martyrs are distinctly Byzantine in style, drawing,
and colouring. They show the usual rows of immobile saints and martyrs
in set robes with jewelled borders, which are seen in the mosaics of
the Ravenna churches. These would, I believe, date from the
fourth-century church, when the Roman builders were employing
Byzantine decoration. The second row beneath this is of the more
naturalistic Comacine school, and would probably date from Pope
Hadrian's restoration in the eighth century. In these and the frescoes
of S. Piero a Grado one gets the veritable link between the
conventional Byzantine school and the naturalistic Renaissance in
Tuscany. Here are no longer icons or abstract images of saints; the
people are no longer rigid and set, but are full of action and
expression, though both are imperfectly expressed. They are, in fact,
real persons and their stories. The life of St. Clement is all told in
scenes. There are even portraits of living people, such as Beno di
Rapizo and his wife Maria, who "for love of the blessed Clement"
caused the frescoes to be painted. Nor are their children, the boy
Clement (_puerulus Clemens_) and little Atilia his sister, forgotten.
They are veritable portraits, for the face of Beno in two different
scenes is identical. The colouring, too, is unlike the Byzantine
saints above. Those are rich with solid heavy tints; these are
lighter, and more in the style of the early Sienese or Tuscan ones.
Beneath this row of scenes are ornamental friezes, in which one
recognizes Roman classical forms naturalized into floriated scrolls,
and under these a line of panelling in fresco. One panel appears to be
copied from the mosaic of the ceiling at the circular church of Sta.
Costanza; another is suggestive of the emblematic circles and signs of
the Catacombs. A third, the most interesting of all, is the one
commemorating the building of the church to which we have before
referred. Here stands Sisinius, and whether he be the hero of St.
Clement's miracle, as Father Mulroody asserts, or not, he is certainly
a Master architect standing in his toga, and wearing a Freemason's
apron under it, directing his men, Albertus, Cosma, and Carvoncelle,
in the moving of a column. The figures in this are so much more rude
and out of drawing than the ones above, that they scarcely would seem
to be by the same hands. I account for it by the fact that in
representing a natural sketch from real life, the artist had no
traditionary models to guide him, as he had for his saints and
virgins, and consequently he found it difficult to depict his
fellow-workmen in complicated attitudes. The art of the Catacombs has
no affinity with these frescoes, which are of a more free and natural
style, and the true ancestors of the Tuscan school of fresco-painting.

   _See pages 10 and 268._]

We might place these as the earliest revival of nature after the
Byzantine conventional influence was withdrawn; the next link is to be
seen in the church of S. Piero a Grado, three miles from Pisa, where
are extant by far the finest specimens of Comacine fresco-painting.
The church, which I have described in the chapter on the Carlovingian
era, was built soon after the time of Pope Leo III. (795-816). The
frescoes are said to date before A.D. 1000. Like those of St. Clement
they are not Byzantine, and yet, though full of life and action, they
have an Eastern air; they are not like the later Tuscan art, the
colouring being lighter and the drawing of the figures different. The
prevailing tint is a beautiful ethereal pale green, which is like
nothing in Tuscan art, though Peruzzi produced a tint something like
it in the sixteenth century. Standing at one end of the church and
looking down the nave, one could imagine a Ravenna church, with its
mosaics softened and toned down into frescoes. They are a valuable
proof that among the Comacine Masters pictorial decoration was
considered an integral part of a building. They told the articles of
their creed in their sculptures outside, but they wrote the history of
the church on the walls inside. The story of the church in the
abstract is told in the line of popes above the arches, ending at Leo
III.; the story of this church in particular is told in large scenes
above them. Here is the church as it looked when built, and here is
the ship of St. Peter cast ashore at Grado, and his preaching and
baptizing, imprisonment, etc. In fact all his life still glows, though
fading out on the south wall. The north wall is given to his death and
miracles. Here is his crucifixion, near an obelisk on the Janicular
Hill, and the beheading of his fellow-martyr St. Paul at the Tre
Fontane, with the mysterious blood-red bird that drank his blood.
Another scene shows the Pope Symmachus (A.D. 498) disinterring the
bodies of the two Saints, and his vow of building S. John Lateran, and
the last scene shows his consecration of that church. It is
interesting to mark the Comacine influence in the drawing. The towers
are Lombard towers, and the buildings all have round apses. The people
who are not ecclesiastic or saints seem to be Longobardic, with
reddish tunics, leather-thonged sandals, and long hair. As for the
lions, which lie waiting before the cross of St. Peter, they are in
the precise form of the crouching lions beneath a Comacine arch. The
drawing of other beasts shows that the artists were less accustomed to
them than to their traditional lions.

   _See page 270._]

If it be true that these frescoes, like the ones beneath San Clemente,
were really of the ninth or tenth centuries, and if they were by
native artists, this would place Pisa far before Siena in the history
of art, and Merzario would be wrong when he asserts that there was no
school of art in Pisa before the cathedral was begun. The state of art
in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries strongly inclines me to place
these Byzantino-naturalistic paintings, according to legend, in the
ninth century--that is, before the fall of art, which took place
during the times of German invasion and feudal oppression after

Certainly Cimabue, who is called the "Father of Tuscan Art," could not
have painted them, though in the revival of his time he may have
studied them, as earlier works of his guild, for we have documental
evidence of his connection as a _Magister_ with the Pisan Lodge. The
first great painter of that lodge was Giunta di Pisa, sometimes
written _Magister Juncte_. He was the son of a still older painter,
Guidotto dal Colle, who was a Master in A.D. 1202, and lived till
1255.[201] We give a facsimile of an old print showing two of his
paintings, one a figure from the fall of Simon Magus, in the church of
St. Francis at Assisi; another a St. John from an ancient crucifix in
S. M. degli Angeli at Assisi. The Byzantine style in Cimabue's
painting may be traced to the influence of Giunta, of whom an ancient
writer, Padre Angeli, when speaking of his paintings at Assisi,
says--"that though his teachers were Greeks, yet he learned his art in
Italy, about A.D. 1210."[202] This is a proof of the connection of
Eastern artists with the Western architects.

Giunta, who became a _Magister_ in 1210, preceded Giotto by a century,
in the frescoes of St. Francis of Assisi, where among other things he
painted a crucifix with Frate Elias kneeling at the foot. Brother
Elias was a scholar of St. Francis, and contemporary with Giunta
himself, who has inscribed on his crucifix--


Morrona has reproduced, by a copper engraving, a veritable work of
Giunta's--a crucifix with the Holy Father above, and the Madonna and
St. John at the sides, which was for many years left in the smoke of
the kitchen of the Monastery of St. Anna at Pisa. There is a decided
effort to overcome the stiffness of his first Byzantine teachers, and
a good deal of lifelike expression in the smaller figures. The same
leaning toward nature is visible in the figures of his _Fall of Simon
Magus_ at Assisi. Del Valle and Morrona, judging by evidences of
style, assert that Giunta di Pisa was the master of Cimabue. But as
Giunta graduated as _Magister_ in 1210, and Cimabue was not born till
1240, this does not seem possible. It is more likely, in regard to
time, that Guido of Siena, painter of the famous Madonna in San
Domenico, may have learned something of Giunta; but as all three of
these primary Masters, each of whom became the head of the painting
school in his own lodge, were members of the great guild, the source
of instruction might have been common to all, and moreover that source
must have been originally or partly Byzantine.

   _See page 271._]

While mentioning that Giunta learned of Greek masters in Italy, we may
note that Vasari, _à propos_ of Cimabue, tells a story of the
Florentines calling in Greek masters to teach painting there. The
assertion has been much derided by modern authors, but it might
contain a grain of truth after all. Taking it with the fact (which
becomes impressed on us the more we study early Comacine churches)
that the architecture is Roman, and the ornamentation shows a Greek
influence naturalized, we get at what may be the truth; that the
Byzantine brethren who joined the guild after the edict of Leo the
Isaurian, still had their descendants in it, among the ranks of the
painters, as the Campionese and Buoni families had for centuries
theirs among the architects. This would account for Andrea Tafi
working, together with Apollonius the Greek, at the mosaics in the
tribune of the Florentine Baptistery.[203]

Del Migliore, in his _Aggiunte_ to Vasari's _Lives_, says that in a
contract dated 1297 he read "Magister Apollonius pictor Florentinus."
Here we get one of the very Greek masters Vasari has been derided for
mentioning, and he is certainly connected with the Masonic lodge.

With a common origin, each lodge nevertheless developed its own
distinct style, yet so much was general to the whole guild, that in
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries one spirit seemed to permeate
them all, and only experts can tell a Lorenzetti from a Memmi, or a
Giotto from a Spinello Aretino. We find them working now in one
lodge, now in another. Cimabue, though his principal work was in
Florence where his school was, is found working in the Pisan Lodge in

The archives of the Duomo there have three documents of that year
referring to him. One proves the payment of X solidi II libr. a day to
"Magister Cimabue" and his _famulus_ (apprentice) for their work
there. Who knows whether the _famulus_ may not have been young Giotto,
or Joctus, as he is written in old deeds!

The second paper is Cimabue's receipt for the payment by the _Lord
operaio_ (_Dominus operarius_) for a figure of St. John, painted for
that guild (_Magiestatem_).

The third seems to be the payment for a coloured glass window which
had been painted on glass by Baccio, son of Jovenchi of Milan, from
Magister Cimabue's design.[204]

Cimabue's school in Florence must have prospered greatly. A long list
of names of painters between 1294 and 1296, who are qualified and who
agree to teach their art in Florence, may be made from an ancient law
register kept at that date by the notary Ser Matteo Biliotti, which is
preserved in the general archives of Contracts in Florence.[205] Here
we find several of the Masters trained at Pisa, such as Lapo de
Cambio, Lapo di Beliotto, Lapo di Taldo, Corso di Buono, Andrea di
Cante, Grifo di Tancredi, Tura di Ricovero, Vanni di Rinuccio, Michele
di Pino, Ranuccio di Bogolo, Guiduccio di Maso, Cresta di Piero,
Bindaccio di Bruno, Guccio di Lippo, Bertino della Marra, Rossello e
Scalore di Lettieri, Dino and Lippo Benivieni, Asinello d'Alberto,
Lapo di Compagno, called Scartapecchia, Vanuccio di Duccio, and Bruno
di Giovanni, the companion of Buffalmacco and Calandrino, of whom
Vasari tells such funny stories.

Another act, dated 1282, is a contract by which Azzo, son of the late
Mazzetto painter, of the parish of S. Tommaso, engaged to teach his
art for six years to Vanni di Bruno; probably Giovanni the father of
Bruno mentioned above.

Rossello di Lottieri was the great-grandfather of Cosimo Rosselli.
Vanuccio was the son of the famous Duccio of the Sienese Lodge. Indeed
I think we could find, by close investigation, that most of these
_Magistri pittori_ were connected with one or other of the Tuscan

Painters abounded in the guild at this era. There was Tommaso de
Mutina (Modena) whose Madonna painted in 1297 is in the Gallery at
Vienna. There was Margaritone of Arezzo (1216-1293), a great tre-cento
painter of Madonnas and crucifixes, whose works are yet preserved in
Florence, London, Siena, etc. He generally signed them "Margarit . . .
de Aretio pingebat." A portrait of St. Francis, however, in the
Capuchin Convent at Sinigaglia, is inscribed "Margaritonis devotio me
fec. . ." A Madonna enthroned in the church at Monte San Savino is not
only signed but dated 1284. Guido of Siena and Margaritone were the
leaders of that flourishing school at Siena which culminated in
Spinello Aretino and the Lorenzetti, one of whom, Lorenzo Monaco,
rivalled our Fra Angelico.

Various painters are found in Pisa up to the fourteenth century,
artistic descendants from the school of Giunta. Signor Morrona (_Pisa
Illustrata nelle Arti del Disegno_, vol. ii. p. 154) gives a list of
Giunta's scholars. There are Bonaventura and Apparecchiato da Lucca,
Dato Pisano, Vincino da Pistoja, a list which proves the affinity
between all the Tuscan schools. A little later in 1321 we find a
certain Vicino of Pisa as Gaddo Gaddi's scholar in Florence, where he
finished his master's mosaics in the Baptistery. Ciampi has written a
long dissertation to prove that Vicino of Pisa ought to be Vincino of
Pistoja, because he has found the latter name in some documents. But
as his documents refer to paintings done by Vincino of Pistoja in
1290, and the mosaics of Vicino and Gaddi date 1321, it seems more
probable they were really two different men--one, the Pistojan, being
the scholar of Giunta at Pisa mentioned above; the other, the Pisan, a
scholar of Gaddi in Florence somewhat later. In 1302 we find painters
from all the lodges assembled in Pisa. Here are Magister Franciscus,
painter from S. Simone, named as a _Magister_ of the highest rank. He
works with his son Victorius, and his apprentice Sandruccio. Here are
Lapo of Florence, Benozzo Gozzoli,[206] and "Michaelis the painter";
Duccio and Tura of Siena, painters; and Datus Pictor, who might be
that Dato Pisano mentioned as a scholar of Giunta.[207]

The books of the Duomo of Pisa contain among other things an entry
which indicates the use of oil-painting long before the time of
Antonello de Messina. It is nothing less than the payment by the
_Provveditore_ of the _Opera_ for 29 lbs. of turpentine, 104 lbs. of
linseed oil at 28 denari per lb., and 43 lbs. of varnish, all of which
were for the use of the painters of the _operam Magiestatis_. The
entry is dated 1301, and is No. 26 in the books of the _Provveditore_
of the _Opera_ at Pisa in the year MCCCI. "Johannes Orlandi sua sponte
dixit se habuisse ad Operario libras duas den. pis. pro pretio libre
viginti novem trementine operate adoreram Magiestatis.

"Libras quinquaginta quatuor, et solidos decem et octo den. pisanorum
minutorum pro pretio centinarum quatuor olei linseminis ad operaio
Magiestatis, et aliarum figurarium que fiunt in majori Ecclesia, ad
rationem denariorum XXVIII pro qualibet libra."

Upechinus Pictor[208] pro libris quadraginta tribus vernicis emptis
Comunis an. 1303, is named as a painter of Pisa.

These entries clearly prove what a large part the painters took in the
work of the Masonic brotherhood, and how the frescoing of the wall was
a component part of a Comacine church, and carried on, like their
building, by the joint labour of many Masters. If proof of this is
wanting, go where you will in Italy, and if you can find any church
that has a wall of its original early Christian or mediæval building
remaining, of any age between the fourth and the fourteenth century,
scratch that wall, and you will find frescoes have been there. For
instance, in Santa Croce, and San Miniato at Florence, and at Fiesole,
wherever the restorer's plaster has been taken off, precious works of
the old Masters have come to light. But in all these we have to
imagine what a mediæval church was like from the fragments that
remain: to see the real Comacine church of the twelfth or thirteenth
century, one must go to the ancient city of San Gimignano with its
many towers, where they remain untouched by the restorer, and
unwhitewashed by the seventeenth-century destroyer. There the whole
churches, every inch of them, are covered with scripture or saintly
story in glowing colours. Our illustration shows one by Barna of Siena
before the painters seceded.

The Spanish chapel at S. Maria Novella is another unspoiled and entire
specimen of the profuse use of fresco by the guild. Most of these
churches were decorated by fresco artists who belonged to the Masonic
Guild before the secession of the painters, and being so, it is
probable that they worked together, as the architectural Masters were
accustomed to do, and this would account for the difficulty of
distinguishing in the Spanish chapel between the work of the Memmi and
that of the Lorenzetti, who certainly worked together at Siena, and
probably also in Florence. Cimabue and Giotto were undoubtedly
_Magistri_ of the Masonic Guild, for both of them were builders as
well as painters, and were employed together with other Masters.

When Cimabue discovered Giotto drawing his sheep, he took him into his
school in the lodge, he being then a qualified Master. But the boy
must have passed his novitiate, not only in Magister Cimabue's own
_atelier_, but also in the wider teaching of the school and
_laborerium_, or he would never have got the commission to build the
tower, nor the power to sculpture his "Hymn of Labour" around it.

This was the era when pictorial art was freeing its wings from the
shackles of tradition and set conventionalism, and from the bondage of
working under the rule of another art like architecture. The painters,
especially when the oil process was invented, saw a new and
independent career open before them, and struck for freedom. The
Sienese led the way. In 1355 they seceded from the Masonic Guild, and
even forsook their four crowned Saints; inaugurating their own company
under the banner and protection of St. Luke. They called it _L' Arte
de' Pittori Senesi_. In reading their laws[209] one cannot but
recognize that they were framed on the same lines as those of the
Masonic Guild, the chief changes being the difference of patron saint,
and the omission of some technical rules relating especially to

   _See page 278._]

The names of the artists forming this first school of painting are
sufficient proof of their former connection with the Comacine Guild.
Here is Francesco di Vannuccio, who was called in a council of the
_Opera_ in 1356, and Lando di Stefano di Meo, whose name appears first
in the Masonic Guild, and then among the painters; Andrea di Vanni,
whose father and ancestors had been in it, and who in 1318 was himself
working in the Duomo of Siena with his father, where he is entered in
the books as Andreuccio (poor little Andrea) di Vanni. There are
sundry other members of the Vanni family, some of whom were on the
lists of the Masonic Guild before they are found as painters. Then
there was Bartolo, son of Magister Fredi, with his son Andrea and
grandson Giorgio. Bartolo must have been an old man at this time, so
that his frescoes at S. Gimignano would have been done before the
painters seceded. We find also Andrea and Benedetto di Bindo in 1363
inscribed in the roll of "Magistri lapidum," and in 1389 in that of
the painters; several of their family have also enrolled themselves
there. This Magister Bindo was a Lombard from Val D'Orcia; other
Comacine names are there also, such as Domenico di Valtellino, and
Cristofano di Chosona (Cossogna, near Pallanza).

I believe that after this secession the churches were no longer so
entirely decorated with frescoes. Altar-pieces, introduced by Giotto
and Lorenzo Monaco, partially took their place.

In 1386 the painters of the Florentine Lodge followed the example of
their _confrères_ at Siena, and put themselves also under the
protection of St. Luke. They called themselves the _Confraternità dei
Pittori_. The meeting-place of this Confraternity was in the old
church of S. Matteo, now no more. Their first company lasted till the
time of Cosimo I., who patronized it, and superintended its
reorganization in 1562.

In Medicean times great _fêtes_ were held on St. Luke's Day, by the
Academy, and all the best pictures in Florence were hung in the
cloisters of the Servite monks.

By the time of the Grand Dukes the Masonic Guild seems to have
decayed. Owing to the new painting, sculpture, and gold-working
companies, which had freed themselves from the old organization; and
the secularizing of art which followed from these causes, and from the
diminished zeal for church-building, the Freemasons must have dwindled
away, and the guild died a natural death. Cosimo again revived and
united the three sister branches of Art--Architecture, Sculpture, and
Painting--in his _Accademia delle Belle Arti_, where they remain to
this day. The ensign of the Academy was a group of three wreaths, bay,
olive, and oak, with the motto--"_Levan di terra al ciel nostro

Lorenzo il Magnifico had paved the way to the revival of sculpture by
the school he started in his gardens. The Academy has now a fine
building for itself, and a very interesting collection of paintings,
chiefly of the early schools.

Here we will leave the painters, who no longer have any connection
with the great Masonic Guild. That fraternity, nevertheless, forms the
link of connection between the old classic art and the Renaissance in
painting, as in all the other branches. Without it we should have had
no grand frescoes by Giotto, the Lorenzetti, the Memmi, and the Gaddi,
for the lodges at Siena and Florence trained their art; and it is a
certain fact that after the secession of the painters, the glorious
days of fresco-painting were over. The painters no longer worked
together to beautify every inch of the churches built by the
brotherhood, but they painted for themselves, for personal fame and
money. Madonnas, votive pictures, and portraits multiplied: the
commission and the patron ruled the art. Imagination and inspiration
rarely dominated, except in rare cases like Fra Angelico, Fra
Bartolommeo, Raphael, and Michael Angelo, and other of the greatest
Masters who stand forth from the crowd of artists, endowed with true


[199] Mulroody's _S. Clemente_. St. Asterius, Bishop of Amasia (fourth
century), describes a fresco of the martyr St. Euphemia of
Chalcedonia, which moved him to tears, and St. Paulinus of Nola (died
401) describes a Basilica covered with paintings.

[200] St. Ephrun, Deacon of Edessa, in his _Sermo I. de Pœnitentia
XV._, uses glass mosaic as an illustration of the sacrament of
penance. "Penance is a great furnace: it receives glass and changes it
into gold. It takes lead and makes it silver.... Have you seen glass,
how it is made of the colour of beryl, emerald, and sapphire? You
cannot doubt, too, that penance makes silver of lead and gold of
glass. If human art knows how to mix nature with nature, and change
what was before, how much more would the grace of God be able to
effect? Man has added gold-leaf to glass, and in appearance that seems
gold which was before glass. If man had chosen to mix in gold, the
glass would have been made golden; but avoiding the cost, he invented
the fitting together and inserting the thinnest leaf."

[201] The Dal Colle family were nobles of Pisa. A deed in the archives
of the Duomo dated 1229 registers the sale of some land to Giunta by
the Archbishop Vitale--"Vendo tibi Juncti q Guidotti de Colle totum
unum edificium," etc.

[202] "Circa an. sal. 1210, Juncta Pisanus ruditer a Græcis Instructus
amoenitas primus ex Italia artem apprehendit."--Padre Angeli, _Collis
Paradisi seu sacri conv. assissiens. historiæ_, Liber I. Tit. xxiv.

[203] (See Vasari, _Life of Andrea Tafi_.) Tafi was a nickname. In his
matriculation to the Arte de' Medici e Speziali, where the painters
had to enroll themselves after their split from the Masonic Guild, he
is written as "Andreas vocatus Tafi olim Ricchi."

[204] Archives of Opere Del Duomo, Pisa. Docum. 26, libro sud anno
1301 sud "_Magister Cimabue pictor Magiestatis pro se et famulo suo
pro diebus quatuor quibus laborarunt in dicta Opera ad rationem solid.
X. pro die libr II._

"_II. Cimabue pictor Magiestatis sua sponte confessus fuit se habuisse
a D. Operario de summa libr: decem quas dictus Cimabue habere debebat
de figura S. Johannis quas fecit juxta Magiestatem libr V sol X._

"_III. Bacciomeus filius Jovenchi mediolanensis ... fuit confessus se
habuisse ... de precio vitri laborati et colorati quem facere debuit
juxta ... et voluntatem magistri Cimabovis pictoris, quem vitris
Bacciomeus vendere et dare debet suprad. operario ad rationem den.
XXIIII pro qualibet libra pro operando ipsum ad illas figuras que
noviter fiunt circe Magiestatem inceptam in majori Ecclesia S.
Maria._"--See Morrona, _Pisa Illustrata_, etc., vol. i. p. 249, notes.

[205] Quoted by Del Migliore in _Firenze Illustrata_, p. 414.

[206] Gozzoli is in some books entered as Benozzo di Lese de Fiorenza,
in others as "di Cese de Florentia." So uncertain is mediæval

[207] Extract from the book entitled in Latin: "Introitus et exilus
facti et habiti a Burgundio Tadi Operario opere sc͠e marie dis.
majoris ecclē. sub A.D. MCCCII. Ind IIII de mense madij incept...

     Magistri Magiestatis majoris

Magister Franciscus pictor de S. Simone porte maris cum famulo suo pro
diebus V quibus in dicta opera Magiestatis laborarunt ad rationem
solid. X pro die ... Victorius ejus filius pro se et Sandruccio famulo
suo, etc. Lapus de Florentia, etc ... Michael pictor, etc ... Duccius
pictor, Tura pictor etc. Datus pictor ... Document 25."--See Morrona,
_Pisa Illustrata_, vol. i. p. 249, note.

[208] Upechinus must be dog Latin for Upettino, who is in the _Breve_
Pisani "ab eo ad operam Magiestatis." Johannes Orlandi was a member of
a Lombard family, who had been long in the guild. The Orlandi are
found at Milan, Siena, etc.

[209] See Milanesi's _Documenti per l' Arte Senese_, pp. 1 to 56. Breve
dell' arte de' Pittori Senesi.




  1. |  1259   | Magister Luglio Benintendi }|
     |         |                            }| Architects employed on Siena
  2. |         | M. Rubeo q. Bartolomei     }| cathedral.
     |         |                            }|
  3. |         | M. Stephanus Jordanus      }|
     |         |                             |
  4. |  1260   | M. Bruno Bruscholi         }| Engaged on May 31, 1260, for
     |         |                            }| work in the cathedral.
  5. |         | M. Buonasera Brunacci      }|
     |         |                             |
  6. |  1266   | M. Niccolò Pisano           | Sculptured the pulpit in the
     |         |                             | Duomo of Siena.
     |         |                             |
  7. |         | M. Donato di Ricevuti       |{ His pupils and assistants.
     |         |                             |{
  8. |         | M. Arnolfo                  |{ Donato and Lapo were
     |         |                             |{ naturalized in 1271 at
  9. |         | M. Lapo                     |{ Siena. Arnolfo went to
     |         |                             |{ Florence, and was there
     |         |                             |{ made a citizen.
     |         |                             |{
 10. |         | M. Johannes filius Niccoli  |{ Son of Niccolò Pisano, who
     |         | (Giovanni Pisano)           |{ was made a citizen of
     |         |                             |{ Siena. He was chief
     |         |                             |{ architect of the Duomo in
     |         |                             |{ 1290.
     |         |                             |
 11. |  1267   | M. Johannes Stephani        |{ Three _Magistri_ employed
     |         | (son of No. 3)              |{ at the Duomo, who witnessed
     |         |                             |{ the payment to Niccolò
 12. |         | M. Orlando Orlandi          |{ Pisano for his pulpit.
     |         |                             |{
 13. |         | M. Ventura Diotisalvi of    |{ Ventura was probably
     |         | Rapolano                    |{ descended from Diotisalvi,
     |         |                             |{ the builder of the Tower of
     |         |                             |{ Pisa.
     |         |                             |
 14. |  1281   | M. Ramo di Paganello        | Signed a contract as builder
     |         |                             | on Nov. 20, 1281.
     |         |                             |
 15. |  1308   | M. Andrea olim Ventura      | Son of No. 13.
     |         |                             |
     |         |                             |{ Worked under Gio. Pisano
 16. |  1310   | M. Lorenzo olim M. Vitalis  |{ at Siena during his
     |         | de Senis (called Lorenzo    |{ apprenticeship. Was chief
     |         | Maitani)                    |{ architect at Orvieto in
     |         |                             |{ 1310. His son Vitale was
     |         |                             |{ "_Capo-Maestro_" after him.
     |         |                             |
 17. |  1310   | M. Ciolo di Neri }          |
     |         |                  }          | Worked together at Siena.
 18. |   "     | M. Muto di Neri  }          |
     |         |                             |
 19. |   "     | M. Teri                     | Ciolo takes Teri as his
     |         |                             | pupil on Sept. 10, 1310.
     |         |                             |
 20. |  1318   | *M. Camaino di Crescentini  | Grandson of Ventura
     |         | di Diotisalvi[210]            | Diotisalvi
     |         |                             |
 21. |         | *M. Tino                    | His son.
     |         |                             |
 22. |         | *M. Corsino Guidi           |
     |         |                             |
 23. |         | *M. Ghino di Ventura }      | Relatives of the Diotisalvi
     |         |                      }      | family.
 24. |         | *M. Ceffo di Ventura }      |
     |         |                             |
 25. |         | *M. Vanni Bentivegno        |
     |         |                             |
 26. |         | *M. Andreuccio Vanni        | His son.
     |         |                             |
 27. |         | *M. Ceccho Ricevuti         | A descendant of No. 7.
     |         |                             |
 28. |         | *M. Gese Benecti            |
     |         |                             |
 29. |         | M. Vanni di Cione of }      |
     |         | Florence             }      | These four with Lorenzo
     |         |                      }      | Maitani (No. 16) voted
 30. |         | M. Tone Giovanni     }      | against going on with the
     |         |                      }      | too large church at Siena,
 31. |         | M. Cino Franceschi   }      | and advised its present
     |         |                      }      | dimension.
 32. |         | M. Niccola Nuti      }      |
     |         |                             |
 33. |  1330   | M. Vitale di Lorenzo        | Son of Lorenzo Maitani (No.
     |         |                             | 16). C.M. (_Capo-Maestro_)
     |         |                             | at Orvieto for six months
     |         |                             | after his father's death,
     |         |                             | with Niccola Nuti (No. 32.)
     |         |                             |
 34. |   "     | M. Agostino da Siena   }    |
     |         |                        }    |
 35. |         | M. Giovanni, his son   }    | These five sculptors were
     |         |                        }    | engaged to make the tomb of
 36. |         | M. Angelo di Ventura   }    | Bishop Tarlato at Arezzo;
     |         |                        }    | Agostino being head sculptor
 37. |         | M. Simone di Ghino     }    | and designer.
     |         |                        }    |
 38. |         | M. Jacopo, his brother }    |
     |         |                             |
 39. |  1333   | †M. Paolo di Giovanni[211]    |
     |         |                             |
 40. |         | †M. Toro di Mino            |
     |         |                             |
 41. |         | †M. Cino Compagni           | Worked at the Sienese Duomo
     |         |                             | from 1326.
     |         |                             |
 42. |         | †M. Frate Viva di Compagni  | A monk of the guild, brother
     |         |                             | of the preceding.
     |         |                             |
 43. |         | †M. Guido or Guidone di     | Built the castle of Grosseto
     |         | Pace                        | with Angelo Ventura.
     |         |                             |
 44. |         | †M. Andrea Ristori          |
     |         |                             |
 45. |         | †M. Ambrosio Ture           |
     |         |                             |
 46. |  1339   | M. Cellino di Nese of Siena | Built the church of St. John
     |         |                             | Baptist at Pistoja; the
     |         |                             | contract was signed July 22,
     |         |                             | 1339.
     |         |                             |
 47. | 1339-40 | M. Lando di Pietro          | C.M. in 1339. A great artist
     |         |                             | in metal, and eminent
     |         |                             | architect.
     |         |                             |
 48. |  1348   | M. Stefano di Meo           | Son of Magister Meo di Piero.
     |         |                             | Built the chapel of St. Peter
     |         |                             | at Massa.
     |         |                             |
 49. |  1349   | M. Giovanni di M. Jacopo  } |
     |         | di Vanni                  } | These brothers were employed
     |         |                           } | at the Fonte Branda.
 50. |   "     | M. Niccolo di M. Jacopo   } |
     |         |                             |
 51. |  1356   | M. Gherardo di Bindo        | { Paid for advice about the
     |         |                             | { new Duomo when Francesco
     |         |                             | { Talenti and Benci Cione
 52. |   "     | M. Francesco di Vannuccio   | { came from Florence as
     |         |                             | { experts.
     |         |                             |
 53. |  1358   | M. Paolo di Matteo       }  | Elected on Nov. 3, 1358,
     |         |                          }  | C.M. of Orvieto with Moricus
     |         |                          }  | as his assistant. He
 54. |         | M. Moricus Petrucciani   }  | resigned, and died in 1360.
     |         |                             |
 55. |  1360   | M. Andrea di Cecco Ranaldi  | C.M. of Orvieto, Dec. 1360.
     |         |                             |
 56. |   "     | M. Luca di Cecco            | His brother and assistant;
     |         |                             | designed the steps of the
     |         |                             | Duomo in 1386.
     |         |                             |
 57. |  1364   | M. Paolo d'Antonio          | C.M. of Orvieto from
     |         |                             | April 8, 1364.
     |         |                             |
 58. |   "     | M. Antonio di Brunaccio     | A descendant of No. 5; he
     |         |                             | returned his salary because
     |         |                             | he broke his contract,
     |         |                             | March 17, 1364.
     |         |                             |
 59. |  1369   | M. Johannes Stephani        | A descendant of Stefano
     |         |                             | Jordanus (No. 3).  He worked
     |         |                             | at S. John Lateran for Pope
     |         |                             | Urban V. in 1369. Elected
     |         |                             | C.M. at Orvieto, March 11,
     |         |                             | 1375.
     |         |                             |
 60. |  1377   | M. Giacomo di Buonfredi     | Sculptured the façade of the
     |         | (detto Corbella)            | Duomo of Siena, opposite the
     |         |                             | hospital.
     |         |                             |
 61. |   "     | M. Francesco del Tonghio    | Sculptured the choir stalls
     |         | (called Francesco del Coro) | in Siena cathedral in 1377,
     |         |                             | also the choir in the Duomo
     |         |                             | of Florence.
     |         |                             |
 62. |  1379   | M. Giacomo del Tonghio      | His son and assistant. He
     |         |                             | sculptured the tabernacle of
     |         |                             | S. Pietro in the Duomo of
     |         |                             | Siena.
     |         |                             |
 63. |  1384   | Magister Giacomo di         | Contracted on Feb. 24,
     |         | Castello                    | 1384-85, to make three
     |         |                             | coloured glass windows for
     |         |                             | the Duomo; he made also
     |         |                             | those in S. Francesco at
     |         |                             | Pisa in 1391.
     |         |                             |
 64. |  1386   | M. Giovanni Peruzzi         | Did some stone building in
     |         |                             | the tower at Siena cathedral.
     |         |                             |
 65. |  1388   | M. Mariano d'Agnolo         | Carved several figures in the
     |         | Romanelli                   | choir of Siena cathedral.
     |         |                             |
 66. |  1390   | M. Luca di Giovanni         | C.M. at Orvieto for the
     |         |                             | second time; the first was
     |         |                             | in 1387. He was in the
     |         |                             | Florentine Lodge in 1386.
     |         |                             |
 67. |  1423   | M. Bastiano di Corso (of    | Engaged to make 59 _braccia_
     |         | Florence)                   | of inlaid frieze in the
     |         |                             | pavement of the steps of the
     |         |                             | high altar.

At first sight it would not appear that the Italian-Gothic cathedrals
at Siena and Orvieto could have much to do with the ancient Comacine
church of S. Michele at Pavia, but they are undoubtedly its hereditary
descendants, and in great part the work of Comacine architects.

Documents prove that a Lombard Guild, with _schola_, _laborerium_, and
_Opera_, existed in Siena long before A.D. 1400. Legend, or rather
tradition, says that this lodge began in Longobardic days, when the
first Sienese Duomo was built by a certain Ava, descendant of
Iselfred, a Longobardic prince. This Ava had, before going to Siena,
caused a church (Aula Santa) to be erected "on an island near
Borgonuovo by the lake" (Insula prope Borgonuovo juxta lacus). This
must be the Comacine island on the lake near Como-nuovo, which was
also called Borgonuovo.[212] It is also said that in 1180 Pope
Alexander III. went to Siena, of which city he was a native, to
consecrate the new Basilica.[213]

Here we have the first link of the Comacine Guild with Siena, and I
think it offers an explanation of the early existence of the Sienese
school of painting.

The Longobardic Masonic lodge seems to have been the only one of the
kind then in Siena, and it held on for almost a century after the
secession of the painters in A.D. 1355.

By that time so many native architects and sculptors had been trained
that there were two distinct parties in the guild, and the Sienese
clique began to feel the need of independent power. In 1441 a schism
was made, the Sienese sculptors forming a branch of their own, called
_L' arte dei maestri di pietra, Senese_, which had its laws and
regulations in due form. The same schism had taken place in Venice in
1307, when the _Arte de taglia pietre_ was formed, and a similar one
took place later in Florence. The Sienese split was not very
satisfactory, for on December 5, 1473, we find they called a meeting
of the two guilds, to further the means of working in better accord
with each other. The following compact was made--

(1) That all Masters, Lombard or Sienese, should pay ten soldi for
right of entry on employment.

(2) That all, equally, should pay five soldi a year for the _festa_ of
the _Santi Quattro_; and that a Lombard _camarlengo_ should be chosen
to work together with the Sienese one, to collect these and other
moneys; that the _camarlengo_ should hold no more in hand than
twenty-five soldi; all money above that to be immediately invested.

(3) That the Lombard _camarlengo_ shall be subject to the same laws
and rules and fines as the Sienese one.

(4) That the _garzoni_ (novices or pupils) shall have no claims to
receive pay, but manual labourers shall be paid three soldi a year
each by the Masters employing them, as says the statute.

(5) That when it is necessary to "make a collection," the Lombard
Masters shall be obliged to attend, equally with the citizens, and
under the same penalties, as by the statute. Here follow the names of
the contracting parties, as inscribed in the original report of the


     Magister Laurentius Petri
     M. Urbanus Petri
     M. Franciscus Ducci
     M. Dominicus Andreae
     M. Petrus Zantebuoni
     M. Joannes
     M. Vitus Marci
     M. Marianus Sani
     M. Tullius magistri Marci
     M. Mannus Antonii
     M. Galganus Ioannis
     M. Iulianus Iacobi
     M. Iacobus Ioannis
     M. Antonius Ghini
     M. Dominicus Cambii
     M. Aloysius Ruggieri
     M. Franciscus Andreae
     M. Petrus Antonii


     Magister Guglielmus Joannis de Sanvito
     M. Franciscus Christophori de Cumo (Como)
     M. Joannes Guglielmi de Sanvito (son of No. 1)
     M. Stephanus Fidelis de Voltolina (Valtellina)
     M. Adamus Ioannis de Thori
     M. Ioannes Iacobi de Sanvito
     M. Alexus Ioannis de Sanvito (his son)
     M. Martinus Martii de Sanvito
     M. Ioannes Talentine de Sanvito
     M. Iacobus Dominici de Lamone
     M. Ioannes Iacobi de Lamone (his son)
     M. Guglielmus Antonii de Sanvito
     M. Paulus Thomae de Charazza
     M. Antonius Ioannis de Ponte
     M. Iacobus Petri de Condupino
     M. Antonius magistri Alberti de Lamone
     M. Ioannes Francisci de Lamone
     M. Ioannes de Ponte
     M. Guglielmus Andreae de Sanvito

     Acta fuerunt, etc.

But even this did not succeed. On January 6, 1512, we find the Sienese
Lodge making a petition to the Signoria to the effect that whereas in
ancient times the brethren of the Masonic Guild were always accustomed
to hold their meetings and unite for worship in their own chapel of
the _Santi Quattro_ in the cathedral, the "foreign" builders being now
separated from that chapter (lodge), all the money which used to be
collected to endow that chapel, is now collected among themselves, and
sent to Lombardy, without consulting the said chapter (_capitudine_),
"to the grave injury and shame of our city, and of the said chapel,"
"thus we pray of your Signoria that you will command that the said
lodge shall meet according to the ancient rules of the order, under
pain of penalties named in the ancient Breve ... the which shall be
useful and honourable to our city and to the said chapel."[215] By
this we realize that the Lombard Masters were not only the earliest
guild of architects at Siena, but also the most powerful, as the
Sienese branch could not even keep up the chapel of their patron saint
without their aid.

It may be interesting to glance over the headings of the statutes of
the Sienese Masonic Guild, which no doubt were similar to, if not
identical with the original one; at any rate they will throw light on
the organization.

Cap. I. On he who curses God or the Saints (a fine of twenty-five

Cap. II. On he who opposes the Signoria of the city (a fine of
twenty-five lire).

Cap. III. On the election of _rettore_ and _camarlengo_. (In the
Florentine Lodge which kept up the older Latin, these are called
_caput magister_ and _provveditore_.)

Cap. IV. On the forming of councils and their duration.

Cap. V. How to treat underlings (_sottoposti_).

Cap. VI. On those who disobey the rector or _camarlengo_.

Cap. VII. On he who refuses a citation (fine of twenty soldi).

Cap. VIII. Of one who swears by the blood or body of God.

Cap. IX. Of he who takes work on a risk.

Cap. X. All names of _sottoposti_ to be written in the Breve.

Cap. XI. That no one may take work away from another Master.

Cap. XII. Contracts with pupils must be made before the _camarlengo_.

Cap. XIII. How the feast of the Four Holy Martyrs is to be kept.[216]

Cap. XIV. On the entry of a foreign Master into the guild.

Cap. XV. _Di chi vietasse il pegno al messo._ (I can get no clear
translation of this; I think it means a pledge on receiving a

Cap. XVI. The _camarlengo_ shall hand over all receipts to the Grand

Cap. XVII. On the salaries of officials of the guild.

Cap. XVIII. How _fêtes_ must be kept (fines of five soldi to all who
work on _feste_. Forty-nine _fête_ days are named).

Cap. XIX. One who is sworn to another guild cannot be either the Grand
Master or _camarlengo_.

Cap. XX. That the _camarlengo_ keeps for the guild all moneys received
from _sottoposti_ (brethren of lower rank).

Cap. XXI. On good faith in receiving a commission.

Cap. XXII. How members are to be buried.

Cap. XXIII. How to insure against risks.

Cap. XXIV. No arguments or business discussions to be held in the
public streets.

Cap. XXV. How the _fête_ of the guild is to be kept, the rectors to
have full power to command.

Cap. XXVI. How wax candles shall be sent to the monks of the
Mantellini for the _festa_.

Cap. XXVII. How tithes are to be paid.

Cap. XXVIII. That all orders come from the Grand Master.

Cap. XXIX. How the outgoing officials shall instruct the new ones.
(_i.e._ The council of administration which was changed periodically.)

Cap. XXX. That no Master may undertake a second work till the first
has been paid.

Cap. XXXI. Brick-makers and quarry-men must abide by the rules of the

       *       *       *       *       *

Cap. XXXIV. On those who lie against others.

Cap. XXXV. Those who demand a meeting or consultation shall pay
fifteen soldi to the guild.

Cap. XXXVI. That the Grand Master on retiring from office shall call
three _riveditori_[217] to examine his accounts.

Cap. XXXIX. That no master of woodwork shall work in stone.

Cap. XL. The _Breve_ (statutes) shall be revised every year.

Cap. XLI. On the entry into the lodge, of Masters from the city or

The statutes are very fair and well composed, and must certainly have
been made from long experience in the guild.

In 1447 we find a further split. The Masters of wood-carving secede
from the sculptors in stone, and form their own statutes. Little by
little, as art becomes more perfect and requires more freedom, the
Masonic monopoly of centuries is dissolving.

We must now return to the building of the Duomo by this multitude of

It was in 1259 that the civic Council decided to continue the work of
restoration in the Duomo of Siena, and formed a council of nine
influential citizens, together with the _Magistri_ of the Masonic
Guild, to superintend the work. By February 1321 their ideas and
ambitions had so enlarged that they proposed to make the present
church the transept, and to add a great nave, "to make a beautiful and
magnificent church, with all rich and suitable ornamentation." The new
nave was really begun, and a high bare wall with a fine window in it
remains to this day to puzzle the tourist. This vast design was,
however, abandoned, and the building continued on a less ambitious

Now for details of all these changes. Before Giovanni Pisano's time we
only get a few quaint names such as Magister Manuellus, son of the
late Rinieri, who made the stalls in the choir in 1259; Luglio
Benintendi, Ventura Diotisalvi, Magister Gratia or Gracii, Ristorus,
Stefano Jordano, Orlando Bovacti, nearly all of whom were Masters from
other lodges either in Lombardy or Pisa. There are besides two other
Venture--one Ventura di Gracii, and one Ventura called Trexsa. All
these are named as being called in a council of the guild of June 9,
1260, to consider the stability of some vaulting lately made, but I
can find no _capo magistro_ at this date. Several of these are names
known in other cities where the guild had lodges. Ventura's father,
Diotisalvi, built the Baptistery at Pisa; Magister Gracii came from
Padua, Stefano Jordanus had a son, Johannes Stephani, who was witness
to Niccolò di Pisa's receipt for payment by Fra Melano of 78 gold lire
and IV denarii for his pulpit in the Duomo on July 26, together with
Orlando, son of Orlando Bovacti, and Ventura di Rapolano. Niccolò
himself had with him his son Giovanni, who also graduated in the guild
from the school of his father. Here, too, were Arnolfo, Lapo (the
younger), with Donato and Goro, who were students in Niccolò's school
of sculpture, and who worked so well at the sculpture at Siena that
when they became _Magistri_ in 1271, the three last were given the
freedom of the city.[218] They were not exclusively sculptors,
however, any more than Arnolfo was. Lapo was employed in 1281 as
architect at Colle, where Arnolfo's reputed father, the elder Lapo or
Jacopo il Tedesco, had been engaged by King Manfred long before him.
Goro di Ciucci Ciuti had three sons, Neri, Ambrogio, and Goro, all in
the guild. In 1306 we find them all engaged together in the fountain
of Follonica at Siena. In 1310 Neri's sons Ciolo and Nuto are
mentioned; one of them, having graduated, is old enough to have a
pupil, named Teri. Here is the deed of apprenticeship--

     No. 26.   "_1310, 16 Settembre._


     "In nomini Domini amen. Ex hoc publico instrumento sit omnibus
     manifestum; quod _Ciolus_ magister lapidum de cappella sancti
     Salvatoris in Ponte, quondam _Nerii_ de Senis,
     fecit--Ugolinum, dictum Geriolum, de populo Sancti Joannis de
     Senis--suum procuratorem--ad recipiendum pro eo et ejus vice
     et nomine, _Terium_, germanum Baldini de Castro Florentino,
     nunc commorantem Senis, in discipulum et pro discipulo
     suprascripti _Cioli_. Et ad promictendum ipsi _Terio_, vel ali
     persone pro eo, quod ipse _Ciolus_ magister tenebit eundem
     _Terium_ in suum et pro suo discipulo, ad terminum et terminos
     statuendum et statuendos a dicto _Ciolo_; et quod eum dictam
     suam artem de lapidibus docebit.

     "Actum Pisis, in via publica ante domum habitationis Duccii
     Nerii Bonaveris, positam in via sancte Marie, in cappella
     sancte Eufraxie.--Dominice incarnationis anno Domini Millesimo
     trecentesimo decimo, Indictione septima, sextodecimo Kal:
     Octobris, secundum cursum pisanorum.

     "Ego Bonaccursus filius quondam Provincialis de
     Vecchiano--not:--scripsi."--(Reproduced from Milanesi,
     _Documenti per la Storia dell' Arte Senese_, vol. i. pp. 174,

In 1281 a Grand Council was called to revoke the banishment of one of
the Lombard Masters, Ramo di Paganello.[219] It seems that Ramo's
father was from Lombardy, "de partibus ultramontanis;" but the son had
been made a citizen of Siena, whence he was exiled for contumacy.
However, he was such a good sculptor that the edict was revoked. The
report begins--

"1281, 20 Novembre.--Item cum Magister Ramus filius Paganelli de
partibus ultramontanis, qui olim fuit civis senensis, venerit nunc ad
civitatem Sen: pro serviendo operi beate Marie de Senis; ex eo quod
est de bonis intalliatoribus et sculptoribus, et subtilioribus de
mundo qui inveniri possit: et ad dictum servitium morari non potest,
eo quod invenitur exbannitus et condenpnatus per contumaciam,
occasione quod debuit jacere cum quadam muliere; eo existente extra
civitatem Senensem: si videtur vobis conveniens quod debeat rebanniri
et absolvi de banno et condenpnationibus suis, ad hoc ut possit libere
et secure servire dicto operi ad laudem et honorem Dei, et beate Marie
Virginis, in Dei nomine consulate."

The first head architect, who is definitely styled _Capo maestro dell'
Opera_, is Giovanni Pisano, who, when he came to work with his father
at the pulpit in 1266, seems to have taken root in Siena, as did his
fellow-pupils Lapo, Donato, and Goro. Arnolfo, the fourth of the
group, found his mission in Florence.

Signor Milanesi has not succeeded in finding the document referring to
Giovanni da Pisa's election, but he finds that, in 1284, the Sienese,
in gratitude for the services he has rendered in the building of the
Duomo, and especially the façade, gave him the freedom of the city,
and immunity from taxes.[220]

Like most artists, Giovanni must have been Bohemian in his ways, or
careless in his political expressions, for in October 1290 he was
fined the large sum of 600 lire, and had not the wherewithal to pay.
He got off by paying a third, but even this Fra Jacopo, one of the
_Operai_ of the Duomo, had to advance. It was probably repaid from his
salary by instalments.[221] From these documents we gather that the
façade was not designed by Lorenzo Maitani, as has generally been
supposed. If the Commune of Siena in 1284 acknowledged Giovanni's
talent in building the Duomo and the façade, Lorenzo Maitani, who only
began to be chief architect of Orvieto from 1310, certainly could not
have been old enough to design the front of Siena cathedral. Moreover
Milanesi expressly says that, with all his research in the archives,
he can find no mention whatever of Maitani's being connected in any
prominent manner with Siena cathedral.[222] He most likely worked at
it as Giovanni's pupil, and this, with the general tenets of the
guild, would sufficiently account for the similarity between the two

The tenets of the guild were certainly veering towards the Gothic, and
each generation of its members made a new step. Jacopo Tedesco at
Assisi, and Niccolò Pisano in his pulpit, showed the first sign of
transition; their sons and pupils, Arnolfo at Florence, and Giovanni
at Siena, developed the style still further, and their successors
fully expanded it at Milan.

Giovanni was a lover of the Gothic, but was not yet entirely
converted. His windows, like Arnolfo's, were pointed, the points
emphasized by ornate Gothic gables over them; but the three arches of
the doorways are of a Lombard roundness, the pointed effect being only
conveyed by the superimposed gables. Yet the turrets and saint-filled
niches of the upper part of the façade are as rich, and pointed, and
pinnacled as any Gothic cathedral could be. He had not discovered, as
the Germans afterwards did, the beauty of the upward line. The old
classic leaning to the horizontal line still cuts up the design; and
the little Lombard pillared gallery still stretches across the front,
though beautified and gothicized. He did not forget the sign of the
guild in this transition period; for there on the columns, and beneath
the arches, are the lions of Judah.

It is not positively certain whether the present façade was the one
originally designed by Giovanni or not. We find that in November 1310,
a commission of ten Master builders was formed, to superintend the
work of the mosaic, already commenced, and to guard against useless
expenses. Milanesi supposes this to refer to some mosaics destined for
the façade, especially as in 1358 a Maestro Michele di Ser Memmo was
paid six gold florins for his work, "per la sua fadigha (fatica) e
magistero di Santo Michele agnolo, a musaica (_sic_) che fecie a la
facciata di duomo nel canto."[223] The front, as it is at present, has
no mosaics; probably Giovanni Pisano's plan was modified in later
days. It is certain that after Giovanni's death in 1299 great changes
of design were made.

The interior has the same mixture as the façade; there are round
arches below in the nave, and pointed windows above in the clerestory.
The black and white marble, significant of the times though it be,
detracts much from the effect of the really fine architecture by
cutting it up in slices. Fergusson recognized the purely Italian
pedigree of Siena cathedral.[224] "That at Siena," he says,
"illustrates forcibly the tendency exhibited by the Italian architects
to adhere to the domical forms of the old Etruscans, which the
Byzantines made peculiarly their own. It is much to be regretted that
the Italians only, of all the Western mediæval builders, showed any
predilection for this form of roof. On this side of the Alps it would
have been made the most beautiful of architectural forms."

We cannot, however, endorse Mr. Fergusson's next assertion--"in Italy
there is no instance of more than moderate success--nothing, indeed,
to encourage imitation." In the face of the domes of St. Peter's at
Rome, S. Marco at Venice, the cathedrals of Florence, Parma, Padua,
Siena, and Monreale, this is rather a hard saying.

The Sienese had, as we have said, proposed to so enlarge the church by
adding a huge nave, that the present church would only form the
transept. This was begun, but when the works had already advanced the
plan was abandoned. Provisional _Magistri_ were called to form a
committee, which met in council on February 17, 1321, and here, for
the first time in Siena, we find Lorenzo Maitani giving his vote. He
was called to attend the meeting from Orvieto, where he had been _capo
maestro_ of the works from 1310. He, with Niccola Nuti, Gino di
Francesco, Tone di Giovanni, and Vanni di Cione (one of Orcagna's
relatives from Florence), formed the council. After due deliberation
they pronounced on the inconvenience of proceeding with the addition
to the Duomo, and decided to build a new church of more moderate
dimensions, which should still be large and magnificent. The work now
continued without interruption; and on November 20, 1333, we find
another Council of Masters was called, in which twelve of the guild
severally swear "testis juratis die supra scripta et sancta Dei
evangelia, corporaliter tactis scripturis dicere veritatem, suo
juramento testificando dixit," etc., that the walls and foundations
were strong and firm.

   _See page 295._]

The next _capo maestro_ was Master Lando or Orlando di Pieri, son of
Piero, a metal-worker of the guild, who was recalled from Naples in
1339. He was a Lombard, though a naturalized citizen of Siena. They
say Lando is "a most legal man (_omo legalissimus_), not only in his
own special branch (gold-working), but in many others; is a man of the
greatest ingenuity and invention, both with regard to the building of
churches and the erection of palaces and private houses; a good
engineer for roads, bridges, or fountains, and, above all, a citizen
of Siena."[225] Here we see signs of the jealousy of the Lombard
Guild, which caused the schism of which we have spoken. Lando was
truly an acknowledged genius. He made the coronet with which the
Emperor Henry VII. was crowned at Milan in 1311. Muratori (cap.
xiii.), quoting an old Latin dissertation on the "corona ferrea," says
the maker of the crown was present, "presente magistro Lando de Senis,
aurifabro predicti domini Regis, qui predictam coronam propriis
manibus fabricavit." We hear no more of his gold work; but in 1322 he
was employed in Florence to hang the great bell of the palace of the
Signoria, and make it ring (Ita quod de facili pulsatur et pulsari
potest), for which he was paid 300 gold florins. In his architectural
capacity he was employed at Naples by King Robert of Anjou, but was
recalled from there to Siena in 1339, and made _caput magister_ of the
builders of the Duomo. The contract, signed on December 3, 1339, binds
him for three years at a salary of 200 lire a year.

The accounts of the _Opera_ have some interesting articles connected
with the laying of the foundations of the revised plan. In August 1339
the Masters were called into council on the enlargement of the Duomo,
as the nave was considered too short, and Ser Bindo, the notary of the
guild, had to supply them with five sheets of parchment at one lire a
sheet to make designs. Also two lire ten soldi were spent in bread,
meat, and wine, which were sent by the guild to the priests who
officiated when the first stone was laid. In March, Maestro Lando
again applied to Ser Bindo for parchment to make designs, which cost
him twenty-three soldi six denari.

Whether these plans were accepted or not, I cannot tell--probably
not--for in the following March, Lando fell ill and died. He left a
son, Pietro di Lando, also in the guild, and who was naturalized
Florentine when he joined that lodge. A document cited by Gaye
(_Carteggio_, etc. vol. i. p. 73) shows Pietro to have worked with
Giovanni di Lazzero de Como and a Buono Martini at the fortifications
of Castel S. Angelo in Val di Sieve; the three architects solicited
the Signoria for the pay due to them. This Pietro was the father of
Vecchietta, who inherited more than his great-grandsire's talent for
working metal.

The next _capo maestro_ after Lando was Giovanni, son of the famous
sculptor Agostino of Siena, who was, on March 23, 1340, elected for
five years. He had been head of the works at Orvieto in 1337, but did
not long remain there, for in 1338 we find him again in the pay of the
lodge of Siena, where a document in the archives of the Hospital notes
a payment for some work on April 26, to Maestro Giovanni, son of
Maestro Agostino of the _Opera_, and of the parish of S. Quirico.[226]

After Giovanni I can find no mention of a _capo maestro_ till February
16, 1435, when Jacopo della Quercia, otherwise "Magister Jacobus,
Magistri Petri," was elected _operajo_ (president of the Council),
_i.e._ Grand Master. His salary was fixed at one hundred gold florins
as long as he lived, and his wife was to have a pension at his death.
There were several conditions specified to which he had to agree. But
he had so many other engagements, at S. Petronio in Bologna, at Parma,
and Lucca, that he absented himself too much from Siena to please the
_Opera_ there. As early as March 1434-35, a month after his election,
we find him leaving two of the Council of Administration to rule in
his absence. The absence must have been a lengthy one, for on October
22, 1435, the Signoria of the Commune write to him as follows--"Magister
Jacobo Pieri electus Operaio, etc. etc.... As you have been fully
informed, you ought before the past month to have taken action, and
performed the duties undertaken by you in regard to the office of
_Operaio_ of our Church, to which our Councils elected you. We and our
councillors have waited all the past month, expecting that, for the
honour of the Commune, and its needs at the hands of the said _Opera_,
you would return. Now we are at October 22, and you do not appear to
think of it. God knows how the citizens are complaining and murmuring
against you. Therefore we have decided to write to you, that without
fail, and with no delay, you must immediately present yourself to
perform your duties, and let nothing hinder you. If you do not do
this, it will cause us great astonishment and inconvenience."[227]

The Council of the _Opera_ wrote a long Latin letter at the same time,
exhorting their chief to return and satisfy the claims of the Commune.
Whether he came or not I cannot say, but it appears not for any length
of time, as on March 26, 1436, we find him at Parma, writing a defiant
kind of letter to the _Operai_ of San Petronio at Bologna, who had
appealed to him to finish his engagements there. By 1439 we find Jacopo
della Quercia had died, and his brother Priam was writing repeated
petitions to the _Opera_ at Siena about his inheritance from Jacopo,
which it seems a certain pupil of Jacopo's called Cino Bartoli was
withholding from him.

So the work went on for centuries. There are contracts with different
Masters for sculptures, for windows, for towers, for chapels, each
Master designing the part assigned to him. Francesco del Tonghio
obtained great fame for his carvings of the stalls in the choir in
1377, where his son Giacomo assisted him. We find him in Florence some
time later, and his fame must have preceded him, for he is known there
as "Francesco of the Choir" (Francesco del Coro).

It is impossible to name a single architect for any of these great
buildings; they were all the united work of a self-governed guild.

During the centuries when the Duomo of Siena rose into beauty, her
sister of Orvieto also grew under the hands of the same brotherhood.

Lorenzo Maitani, having been trained by his master, Giovanni di Pisa,
at Siena, was called to Orvieto in 1310. His family lasted long in the
guild, and won much fame. His father Vitale was a master sculptor who
had worked under Niccolò and Giovanni. His sons Vitale and Antonio
both graduated in the Siena or Orvieto Lodge, and Vitale became chief
architect at Orvieto for six months only, on Lorenzo's death, when
Master Meo di Nuti di Neri succeeded him.

It is not probable that beyond the design, Maitani had much to do with
the façade, which was incomplete till about 1500. The beautiful Bible
in stone which adorns the pilasters of the three fine doors may have
been designed by Maitani, but the work was done by his sons, with the
help of many sculptors of the guild from Siena, Florence, and
Lombardy. The upper part was not added till the time of Michele
Sanmichele of Verona, who in 1509 was nominated chief architect of the
façade at a salary of one hundred florins a year. He is described as
"Magistrum Michaelem, Magistri Johannis de Verona, principalem
magistrum fabrice faciate de Urbe vetere."[228]

   _See page 305._]

The enthusiastic work of the numberless artists all vying with each
other in beautifying this marvellous church bore rather heavily on the
funds of the _Opera_, for in August 1521 the _camarlengo_ had to stop
the expenses of the façade and finish some more needful parts of the
church first. So "Mag. Michael Johannes Michaelis, Caput Magister
dicte Fabrice," was given permission to absent himself for three days
a week, for other work (no doubt the church at Spello), and the
_Opera_ continued his salary on half-pay.[229] About this time a
competition was offered among the _Magistri_ for the best design for
the chapel of the Three Kings at Orvieto. Antonio Sangallo and Michele
were the two best, and when Pope Clement VII. fled to Orvieto from the
sack of Rome in 1527, the choice was made with his concurrence,
Michele's being chosen. Both San Michele and San Gallo rose to extreme
eminence in the guild; many of the finest palaces in Florence and
Venice were by them. It is interesting to find that they were both
Lombard brethren of the guild by hereditary descent.

The preponderance of Lombards in all these later lodges is sufficient
proof of the connection of these lodges with the older Comacines, from
whom their ancestry can be traced direct.

In April 1422 we find Maestro Piero di Beltrami da Biscione and his
Lombard companions arranging with the _Opera_ for the purchase and
cutting of marbles and travertine. In September 1444 Guglielmo di Como
and his brother Pietro da Como were commissioned to make a mausoleum
in the Duomo for the Bishop of Siena. A contemporary of theirs was
Giuliano da Como, who was of such repute in the guild, that the
Council of the _Opera_, "considering the _virtù_ of Maestro Giuliano
and the desirability of keeping him in Siena, deliberated to accord to
him a loan he requested, of seventy florins to buy a house."[230]

Again, on May 25, 1421, the Republic of Siena wrote to Filippo
Visconti Duke of Milan that a Maestro Giovanni, son of Maestro Leone
da Piazza near Como, was anxious to return to his native country, to
see his family and to arrange a law-suit; and they recommended him to
the Lords of Milan because he had greatly won the affection and esteem
of the Sienese republic by his good life and his eminence in his art
of sculpture.

A certain "Maestro Alberto di Martino de Cumo in provincie Lombardie"
was engaged by the _Opera_ on March 2, 1448, as a builder, in company
with Giovan Francesco of Valmaggia and Lanzilotto di Niccola of Como.

When the Piccolomini wanted to build a splendid palace in Siena, they
did not choose their architects from the faction of their townspeople,
but from the original Lombard branch. Martino di Giorgio da Varenna
(near Bidagio on Lake Como) was chief architect, and Lorenzo from
Mariano in the Lugano valley assisted him as sculptor. He carved the
beautiful capitals and friezes in the palace, and his work so pleased
the Piccolomini, that they employed him to erect an altar and decorate
their chapel in the church of S. Francesco. Milanesi says that Lorenzo
da Mariano was one of the best artists of his time for foliaged
scrolls and grotesques.[231] In 1506 he was _capo maestro_ of the
Duomo of Siena. Maestro Lorenzo was no doubt one of the precursors of
the sculptors of the beautiful cathedral of Como, and the richly
ornate Certosa of Pavia, who were trained in the Sienese _laborerium_.

A fellow-countryman, named Maestro Matteo di Jacopo, came from Lugano
with Lorenzo, and together with Maestro Adamo da Sanvito (also in Val
di Lugano) undertook the great engineering work of making an
artificial lake, to drain the then malarious country round Massa in

Martino di Giorgio had a relative who became more famous than himself.
This was Francesco di Giorgio di Martino--three names in rotation are
generally enough to supply an Italian family for centuries,--who
continued the work at Palazzo Piccolomini (Vasari gives him the credit
for the whole), and was one of the architects of the palace at Urbino.

Milanesi, the commentator of Vasari, asserts that Francesco was the
son of a seller of fowls in Siena, because he found the name of a
"Giorgio di Martino, pollajuolo," in the registers, but seeing that he
was bred in the guild, it is much more likely that he was related to
the Giorgio di Martino already eminent there. His family had certainly
become citizens of Siena by that date.

Maestro Francesco di Giorgio Martini holds a large share in the
correspondence of the Sienese government and of the _Opera_ in the
latter part of the fifteenth century.

On December 26, 1486, we find him first entering the pay of the
Sienese Commune as public architect. He has a salary of 800 florins,
and is bound to fix his home at Siena. He was recalled from Urbino for
the purpose, having orders to arrive within six months, but the Duke
Guidobaldo was not at all willing for him to leave. On May 10, 1489,
the Duke writes to say that the absence of his architect (_mio
architector_) would be a serious injury to him.

During the time Francesco remained in Umbria he seems to have done the
Commune good political service by keeping them informed of the dangers
that threatened Florence from the offensive alliance between Lorenzo
de Medici and the Pope Innocent VIII., who designed to take Città di
Castello for Francesco Cibo. This would have endangered the peace of
Siena, so the architect warned them to be prepared.

After this, Magister Francesco became the bone of contention among
several princes and republics. The Duke of Milan wrote, on April 19,
1490, to the Signoria of Siena, begging them to send the
"intellexerimus magistrum Franciscum Giorgium Urbinatem" (see how the
place he last worked at is named as his residence!) to Milan to give
his opinion on the mode of placing the cupola. The Commune gave the
permission, and on June 27, 1490, we find Magistro Francisco di Georgi
di Siena (here again at Milan he is styled of Siena), with Magistro
Johantonio Amadeo (Omodeo) and Johanjacobo Dolzebono (Gian Giacomo
Dolcebono), elected as a supreme council of three, and giving their
advice on the erection of the cupola at Milan, with the exact plan and
measurements which would harmonize with the building as it then stood.
He did not remain to see the plans carried out, but was on his recall
to Siena remunerated with one hundred florins by the Fabbrica
(_Opera_) of Milan.

On October 24 of the same year, Giovanni della Rovere, the Prefect of
Rome, wrote to the Signoria of Siena praying for the service of their
architect, and on November 4, 1490, Virginio Orsino, Duke of
Bracciano, begged him to go and build a fortress at Campagnano.

Next Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, wanted him at the Castle of Capua,
where he went between February and May 1491, and in August of the same
year the Anziani, Lords of Lucca, petitioned for him. And so he is
called from end to end of Italy, and wherever he goes he is received
with honour as a grand architect.[232]

At Orvieto we find the same preponderance of Lombards as in Siena.
The register of the _Opera_ there for August 30, 1293, gives the
salaries of the _Magistri_ in the Loggia (lodge) of the Fabbrica. Here
we find many of our Sienese friends; Magistro Orlando and Guido da
Como receive six soldi a day; Magistro Martino da Como seven. We find
also Pietro Lombardo, Giacomo and Benedetto da Como, sculptors;
Martino, Guido, and Aroldo as successive chief architects in the
Fabbrica or _Opera_.

In 1305 the _camarlengo_ had to write to Lombardy for more builders
and sculptors, for, says Della Valle, "la fama di volo ne spargesse il
grido fin oltre ai confini d'Italia," and in December four _Magistri_
arrived--"Mag. Franciscus Lombardus, Mag. Marchettus Lombardus, Mag.
Benedictus Lombardus, and Johannes de Mediolano (Milan)." I do not
know which of these sculptured the door of which we give an
illustration, but the artist has set the sign of his fraternity on it
in the lions beneath the pillars. (One is now missing.)

The Lodge of Orvieto, sometimes spelt _Loya_ or _Loja_, is described
as a large, spacious, and airy building, in which the sculpturing of
stones and marbles was done, and where the stores and the schools

The use of the word "Lodge" for this complicated organization seems a
sign of Freemasonry, and suggests that the Comacines followed the
ancient rules of Vitruvius, and kept up the organization of the Roman

We have, I think, proved this to be true, and shown that the same
organization held good up to the fifteenth century, if not longer.
Signor Milanesi's interesting collection of Sienese documents, if
studied closely, contains endless indications of the existence of the
guild. We find several cases of arbitration, such as when Doctor
Filippo Francesconi, and Maestro Lorenzo di Pietro, called
Vecchietta, were chosen on September 20, 1471, as arbiters between
Maestro Urbano di Pietro of Cortona, sculptor, and Bastiano di
Francesco, stone-cutter, his workman, who lodged a complaint against
his master on account of unpaid wages and loss of tools. This same
Urbano appears to have been frequently in need of arbiters, for on
Jan. 27, 1471-72, Bertino di Gherardo was called on to settle a cause
between Madonna Caterina, wife of Silvio Piccolomini, and the sculptor
Urbano, and decided that the lady must pay the artist 100 lire within
the term of four years, the payments to be made quarterly. It was at
the lady's option to pay in kind, such as corn or wine, if it suited
her better.[234] Then there are frequent meetings of councils for
appraising the work of other Masters, and we find the _Operaio_, or
Head of Administration, fixing the salaries of underlings. Precisely
the same meetings, arbitrations, appraisings, went on in Florence.
Indeed, in the fifteenth century the two lodges of Siena and Florence
were so closely intermingled, the Masters appearing now in one city
and then in the other, that there can be no doubt a fraternity existed
between them. We even find Donatello, who came from Florence to make
the bronze doors, sleeping in a feather bed supplied by the
_camarlengo_ of the _Opera_ at Siena.[235]

Donatello was more or less in Siena between 1457 and 1461. He was
engaged to sculpture the altar of the Madonna of the Duomo there on
October 17, 1457. His accounts are much mixed up with those of Urbano
di Pietro of Cortona, of whom we have spoken. It seems Urbano bought
the metal to cast a half figure of Judith, and one of St. John, both
modelled by Donatello. The money, however, was advanced to Urbano by
the banker Dalgano di Giacomo Bichi. The books of the _camarlengo_ of
the _Opera_ have several entries for expenses of modelling wax, and
metal for casting, etc., used by Donatello in the figures on the altar
of the Madonna delle Grazie; his assistants and pupils on this
occasion were Francesco di Andrea di Ambrogio, of Lombard origin, and
Bartolommeo di Giovanni di Ser Vincenzo.


[210] All the Masters marked * were receiving pay at the Duomo of
Siena in 1318.

[211] All the Masters marked † gave their opinion, on oath, of the
works at the Duomo of Siena in councils in 1333.

[212] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. vii. p. 210,
quoted from an ancient MS. cited by Cicognara.

[213] Pope Alexander had a long reign from 1159 to 1181, but there
were four antipopes to harass him during its duration.

[214] Reproduced in Milanesi's _Documenti per l' Arte Senese_, vol. i.
pp. 128, 129.

[215] Milanesi, _Documenti per la Storia dell' Arte Senese_, p. 130.

[216] These Four Holy Martyrs are the "Santi Quattro Incoronati," the
patron saints of the guild. We find from the _Breve_ that at the feast
of the dead, on November 2, all the Masters and officers of the guild
had to meet in their chapel to hear mass. Each Master was to bring a
wax taper not weighing less than half-a-pound, and was to make an
offering for the maintenance of the chapel, etc., of whatever he could
afford. The Rector (Grand Master) was obliged by oath to enforce the
strict observance of the day, and to fine any Magister who, being in
Siena, should absent himself from the meeting, fifteen soldi, besides
the offering he ought to have made. They had another greater feast of
the Four Martyrs in June, the grand _fête_ of the guild.

[217] In Florence and Venice the _riveditori_ are called _probi viri_,
sometimes they are _Buonuomini_.

[218] Milanesi, _Op. cit._ pp. 153, 154.

[219] Milanesi, _Op. cit._ vol. i. p. 157.

[220] "De immunitate magistri Johannis quondam magistri Nichole.

"Item statuerunt et ordinaverunt, quod magister Johannes filius
quondam magistri Nicchole, qui fuit de civitate Pisana, pro cive et
tanquam civis senensis habeatur et defendatur. Et toto tempore vite
sue sit immunis ab omnibus et singulis honeribus comunis Senensis: seu
datiis et collectis et exactionibus et factionibus et exercitiis
faciendis et aliis quibuscumque."--Milanesi, _Op. cit._ vol. i. p.

[221] Milanesi, _Op. cit._ p. 162.

[222] _Ibid._ p. 173, note.

[223] Milanesi, _Op. cit._ p. 103, note. Magister Michele, the
lawyer's son, was in 1360 Master builder of the chapel towards the
Piazza del Campo, and in 1370 was _camarlengo_ of the _Opera_.

[224] Fergusson, _Handbook of Architecture_, p. 770.

[225] Milanesi, _Op. cit._ p. 228, gives the original Latin report of
the deliberation.

[226] Milanesi, _Op. cit._ vol. i. p. 242.

[227] Milanesi, _Documenti per la Storia dell' Arte Senese_, vol. ii.
p. 166.

[228] He was also _capo maestro_ of the works of the cathedral at
Spello, near Orvieto.

[229] Merzario, _Op. cit._ Vol. I. chap. vii. p. 231.

[230] Document quoted by Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap.
vii. p. 216. Milanesi, _Op. cit._ vol. iii. p. 282.

[231] Milanesi, _Op. cit._ vol. iii. p. 77.

[232] All these letters are reproduced in Milanesi's _Documenti per
l' Arte Senese_, vol. ii. pp. 430-452.

[233] "Entro il quale facevasi l'acconciatura delle pietre, el erano
le masserizie e la scuola."--Della Valle, _Il Duomo di Orvieto_.

[234] Milanesi, _Doc. per la storia_, etc., vol. ii. p. 48.

[235] 1459. Uno letto e chapezale di penna di peso libbre 200 die dare
lire trenta-una; soldi uno: denari otto. Sono per tanti ne abiamo
messi a uscita di Vanni di Ser Giovanni di Bindo Kamarlingho; il quale
letto lo tiene al presente Maestro Donatello da Firenze che fa le
porti di bronzo. Archivio detto Libro Rosso a carte 162 pergo.
Milanesi, _Documenti_, etc., vol. ii. p. 298.




   1. |  1258   | Magister Jacopo Tedesco  | Built castles at Arezzo and
      |         | da Campione              | Poppi; and the Bargello at
      |         |                          | Florence.
      |  1298 } |                          |
   2. |   to  } | M. Arnolfo (his son?)    | C.M. of the Duomo. Built the
      |  1310 } |                          | Palazzo Vecchio.
      |         |                          |
   3. | 1340-48 | M. Giotto                | Designed the campanile, and
      |         |                          | sculptured the first row of
      |         |                          | reliefs.
      |         |                          |
   4. |         | M. Andrea Pisano         | Made door of Baptistery.
      |         |                          |
   5. | 1349-59 | M. Francesco Talenti     | C.M. of the Duomo.
      |         |                          |
   6. |  1350   | M. Neri Fieravanti     } |
      |         |                        } |
   7. |         | M. Niccolaus Beltrami  } | Four Masters who went to
      |         |                        } | Carrara to buy marbles for the
   8. |         | M. Benozzus Niccolaus, } | Campanile, of which they were
      |         | his son                } | joint architects.
      |         |                        } |
   9. |         | M. Albertus Arnoldi    } |
      |         |                          |
  10. |  1355   | M. Frate Jacopo          | Brother of Francesco Talenti;
      |         |                          | sent to Rome for marbles.
      |         |                          |
  11. |    "    | M. Francesco da Siena    | Carved stalls in Siena
      |         | (called Francesco del    | cathedral: sent for to carve the
      |         | Coro)                    | stalls of the choir of S. Croce.
      |         |                          |
  12. |    "    | M. Benci Cione           | { Father of Orcagna. They were
      |         |                          | { called in the Council of the
  13. |    "    | M. Ristoro Cione (a      | { Opera to consider Francesco
      |         | relative)                | { Talenti's design for the
      |         |                          | { chapels, July 1355.
      |         |                          |
  14. |    "    | M. Lapo Ghino            | Descended from Ghini Ventura
      |         |                          | di Diotisalvi of Siena.
      |         |                          |
  15. |    "    | M. Giovanni di Lapo      | C.M. with F. Talenti, 1360 to
      |         | Ghino.[236]                | 1368.
      |         |                          |
  16. |         | M. Bartolo da S. Ghallo  | A Lombard from S. Gall,
      |         |                          | grandfather of the famous
      |         |                          | Giuliano and Antonio San Gallo.
      |         |                          |
  17. |  1356   | M. Ambrogio Lenzi        | Son of Guglielmo da Campione;
      |         | (Ambroxios da Campione)  | was C.M. of the Baptistery in
      |         |                          | 1356; C.M. of the Duomo in 1362.
      |         |                          |
  18. |         | M. Stefano Metti         |
      |         |                          |
  19. |  1357   | M. Domenico di Noffo     | Sent to Siena to buy marbles.
      |         |                          |
  20. |    "    | M. Giovanni Belchari     | { These three were joint C.
      |         |                          | { Maestri for the upper part of
  21. |         | M. Vigi Grilli           | { the Campanile. In 1362 Gio.
      |         |                          | { Belchari was poor and infirm,
  22. |         | M. Bancho Falchi         | { and the guild gave him a
      |         |                          | { pension.
      |         |                          |
  23. |         | M. Agostino Falchi     } |
      |         | (brother of the        } | Joint Masters for the walls
      |         | preceding)             } | and columns of the Duomo.
      |         |                        } |
  24. |         | M. Niccolò Megli       } |
      |         |                          |
  25. |         | M. Andrea di Cione       | In council with Frati and
      |         | (Orcagna)                | Magistri about the space
      |         |                          | between the columns. Later he
      |         |                          | became famous as painter and
      |         |                          | sculptor, and made the shrine
      |         |                          | in Or San Michele.
      |         |                          |
  26. |         | M. Jacopo di Lapo        | Makes a model of the shaft.
      |         | Chavacciani              |
      |         |                          |
  27. |         | M. Mato di Cenni  }      | These were engaged for the
      |         |                   }      | bases of the columns.
  28. |         | M. Jacopo di Polo }      |
      |         |                          |
  29. |  1362   | M. Barna Batis           | Provveditore after Filippo
      |         |                          | Marsili.
      |         |                          |
  30. |         | M. Davinus Corsi         |
      |         |                          |
  31. |  1363   | M. Simone Johannes dal   | Engaged to carve the twisted
      |         | Pino                     | columns of red marble in the
      |         |                          | windows of the Duomo.
      |         |                          |
  32. |    "    | M. Ambrosius Ghini       | A relative of Lapo Ghino.
      |         |                          |
  33. |  1364   | M. Sandro Macci          | In council on the domes, with
      |         |                          | many others named before and
      |         |                          | after.
      |         |                          |
  34. |         | M. Francesco Neri        | Sculptured pila and relief in
      |         | Sellari                  | S. Croce.
      |         |                          |
  35. |  1366   | M. Simone di Francesco   | C.M. of Or S. Michele in 1376.
      |         | Talenti                  | With Taddeo Ristori in 1366 he
      |         |                          | made a design for a chapel.
      |         |                          |
  36. |    "    | M. Jacopo Pauli          | Engaged Aug. 31, 1366, to make
      |         |                          | capitals for columns in the
      |         |                          | sacristy.
      |         |                          |
  37. |    "    | M. Mato Jacobi       }   |
      |         |                      }   |
  38. |    "    | M. Aldobrando Jacobi }   | His three sons who assisted
      |         |                      }   | him.
  39. |    "    | M. Corso Jacobi      }   |
      |         |                          |
  40. |  1367   | M. Bernabè Pieri }       | Made a contract on Aug. 31,
      |         |                  }       | 1366, to carve some capitals.
  41. |   "     | M. Manetti Pieri }       |
      |         |                          |
  42. |  1368   | M. Francesco Michaeli    | Advises about Or San Michele
      |         |                          | with Gio. di Lapo Ghino.
      |         |                          |
  43. |         | M. Mattheo olim Cionis   | One of the Masters employed
      |         |                          | in Or San Michele, brother of
      |         |                          | Orcagna.
      |         |                          |
  44. |  1375   | M. Giovanni Giuntini     |
      |         |                          |
  45. |         | M. Francesco Salvetti    | C.M. in 1375, but resigned
      |         |                          | later in favour of Giovanni
      |         |                          | Fetti.
      |         |                          |
  46. |  1376   | M. Taddeo Ristori        | One of the Cione family;
      |         |                          | architect at Or San Michele,
      |         |                          | and the Loggia de' Lanzi after
      |         |                          | his uncle Benci Cione.
      |         |                          |
  47. |         | M. Ambrogio di Vanni   } |
      |         |                        } | Masters in stone-carving.
  48. |         | M. Leonardo olim Masis } |
      |         |                          |
  49. |  1377   | M. Johannes Michaeli,    | Went to Prato on Oct. 2, 1377,
      |         | brother of Francesco     | with Tommaso Mattei to buy
      |         | (No. 42)                 | marble.
      |         |                          |
  50. |         | M. Tommaso Mattei        | Son of Matteo di Cione.
      |         |                          |
  51. |         | M. Zenobio Bartholi      | Was paid 18 florins on Dec.
      |         |                          | 15, 1377, for a figure of the
      |         |                          | Angel Michael. He also carved
      |         |                          | two other figures at 20
      |         |                          | florins.
      |         |                          |
  52. |   "     | M. Simone Francesci      | Elected C.M. in 1377. Son of
      |         | Talenti                  | the C.M. Francesco. He
      |         |                          | sculptured a figure in 1377,
      |         |                          | and was paid 13 florins.
      |         |                          |
  53. |  1380   | M. Jacopo da Scopeto     | Worked in the choir.
      |         |                          |
  54. |         | M. Pietro Landi of Siena | Son of the famous Lando, C.M.
      |         |                          | of Siena Lodge.
      |         |                          |
  55. |  1381   | M. Johannes Fetti        | Elected C.M. with Guazetta on
      |         |                          | March 14, 1381. Designed the
      |         |                          | window under the vault on the
      |         |                          | north side.
      |         |                          |
  56. |         | M. Johannes Stefani,     | Was a famous Master in
      |         | called Guazetta, son of  | woodwork; he was noted for
      |         | No. 18.                  | foundations and scaffolding.
      |         |                          |
  57. |  1383   | M. Laurentius Filippi    | C.M. of the Loggia dei Lanzi
      |         |                          | with Benci Cione, who was
      |         |                          | master builder.
      |         |                          |
  58. |  1384   | M. Giovanni di Ambrogio  | Gave his vote at a meeting on
      |         | da Lenzo (son of         | April 4, 1384, about the
      |         | No. 17).                 | pilasters of the tribune. Was
      |         |                          | chosen C.M. on Feb. 28, 1400.
      |         |                          |
      |  1386   | M. Luca di Giovanni da   | Carved some angels.
      |         | Siena                    |
      |         |                          |
  59. |  1388   | M. Michael Johannis Lapi | Succeeded Lorenzo Filippi
      |         | Ghini                    | as C.M. on July 15, 1388.
      |         |                          |
  60. |  1389   | M. Antonio Francisci     | Elected _Arch Magistrum_,
      |         |                          | but deposed in 1420 by the
      |         |                          | council; and Giovanni di
      |         |                          | Ambrogio of Campione was
      |         |                          | elected.
      |         |                          |
  61. |  1404   | M. Niccolao called Pela  | Sculptured the door of the
      |         |                          | chapel of the Crucifix from
      |         |                          | Giovanni d'Ambrogio's design.
      |         |                          |
  62. |  1418   | M. Baptista Antoni (son  | Elected C.M. when Giovanni
      |         | of Antonio, No. 60)      | d'Ambrogio resigned by reason
      |         |                          | of old age.
      |         |                          |
  63. |         | M. Piero d'Antonio       | Nicknamed Fannulla (Do
      |         | (another son of Antonio, | nothing).
      |         | No. 60)                  |
      |         |                          |
  64. |    "    | *M. Matteo di Leonarda   | All the masters marked * sent
      |         |                          | in plans for the Cupola. The
  65. |         | *M. Vito da Pisa         | design of Brunellesco, who I
      |         |                          | believe not to have been of
  66. |         | *M. Piero di Santa Maria | the guild, was chosen.
      |         |                          |
  67. |         | *M. Donatello            |
      |         |                          |
  68. |         | *M. Nanni di Banco       |
      |         |                          |
  69. |         | *M. Lorenzo Ghiberti     | _Provisore_ of the Cupola with
      |         |                          | Baptista Antoni when
      |         |                          | Brunellesco's plan was chosen.
      |         |                          |
  70. |    "    | M. Andrea Berti         }|
      |         | Martignoni              }|
      |         |                         }|
  71. |    "    | M. Bonaiuti Pauli       }|
      |         |                         }| All these Masters were employed
  72. |    "    | M. Papi di Andrea       }| to erect a large model of the
      |         |                         }| design of Brunellesco for the
  73. |    "    | M. Aliosso              }| Cupola, on the Piazza del
      |         |                         }| Duomo.
  74. |    "    | M. Cristoforo di Simone }|
      |         |                         }|
  75. |    "    | M. Giovanni di Tuccio   }|
      |         |                         }|
  76. |    "    | M. Jacobo Rosso         }|
      |         |                          |
  77. |    "    | M. Giovanni dell Abbaco  | Worked at the Cupola under
      |         |                          | Brunellesco.
      |         |                          |
  78. |         | M. Antonio di Vercelli   |
      |         |                          |
      |         | M. Gherardo (_tedesco_) }|
      |         |                         }|
      |         | M. Ghabriella           }| Three Germans who were paid
      |         | (_tedesco_)             }| for models of a cupola.
      |         |                         }|
      |         | M. Averardo ("_magistro }|
      |         | teutonico_")            }|

Art is like a flower. If the seeds are sown in favourable soil the
plant grows, develops, and bears beautiful blossoms, which in their
turn leave seed for future generations. If the soil be not favourable,
the plant may perhaps reach its flowering season, but it is weak, and
the seeds lack the power of reproduction.

Thus in small cities like Modena, Parma, Orvieto, etc., the artistic
atmosphere and soil were wanting. The lodges of those cities never
became firmly rooted. The Lombard Masters placed there did their work,
and then moved to other cities, but the natives remained uninfluenced.
In Pisa, art first took root. The Pisans, whose artistic faculties had
been awakened by the classic spoils they had gathered together in
their conquests, found a practical outlet for them in the teaching of
the _laborerium_ set up in their midst by Buschetto and his assistants
and followers. Pisans joined the lodge, and from it great teachers
arose. Siena was the next lodge that took root, and drew native
artists into it; then followed Venice and Florence; and through them
all, distinct as they became in later times, the seed was always sown
by the Comacines or Lombard Masters. The Campionese and Buoni families
are at the bottom of all the Tuscan schools, and every one of these
cradles of art was of the self-same form, _i.e._ composed of the
school, the _laborerium_, and the _Opera_ of the Comacine Masters.

And what connection had Arnolfo, the first designing architect of the
Florentine cathedral and Palazzo Vecchio, with this Masonic company?
He had much to do with it, inasmuch as he was an hereditary member, in
fact one of the aristocracy of the guild, and he had a most complete
training in it. The first trace we get of Arnolfo is his instruction
in the school of Magister Niccolò Pisano. The proof of this is a deed
drawn up in Siena on May 11, 1266, in which these words
occur--"requisivit Magistrum Nicholam Petri de Apulia quod ipse
faceret et curaret ita; quod Arnolfus discipulus suus statim veniret
Senas ad laborandum in dicto opere, cum ipso magistro Nichola." Here
we have Niccolò di Pisa as Master in the guild, and his disciple
Arnolfo not yet having graduated.

Another paper relating to Niccolò's work on the pulpit at Siena
says--"Secum ducat Senas Arnolphum et Lapum, suos discipulos."

By 1277 Arnolfo seems to have graduated, for when Niccolò and Giovanni
di Pisa were at work on the beautiful fountain at Perugia in that
year, Fra Bevignate, the _soprastante_ of the work, sent to call
Magister Arnolfo from Florence to assist in the sculpture of the
fountain. Arnolfo, however, declared in a letter dated Aug. 27, 1277,
that he could not go to Perugia, or undertake any work there without
the consent of King Charles of Anjou (King of Naples and Sicily) or of
Hugo, his vicar in Rome. King Charles was applied to, and on Sept. 10
of that year he wrote conceding permission to Arnolfo to go and assist
his old master--then 74 years of age--and also to take the marbles

These documents are very valuable apart from the fact they chronicle.
They show how the guild was not only privileged by the reigning
monarch, but that he was the active president of it. It explains all
those queer words on Longobardic inscriptions, beginning--"In tempore
Dominus Honorius Episcopus," "In tempore præsule Paschalis, etc.,"
showing that they point out the reigning king, pope, or patron bishop
who was at the time president of the Great Guild. The name of this
highest magnate is usually followed in these inscriptions by the Grand
Master, _soprastante_ or _operaio_ of the special lodge. The
universality of the guild is also shown; its president, the king,
being at Naples, his "vice" at Rome.

The next place in which we see Arnolfo is in Rome, where he worked
with his _socio_ (fellow Freemason), Pietro, at the tabernacle of San
Paolo fuori le mura. Here, with this ancestor of the Cosmati, Arnolfo
learned his love of polychrome sculpture, which he afterwards adapted
to the larger uses of architecture; for his grand Florentine Dome
seems only a magnified inlaid casket. There is a beautiful piece of
inlaid work in the Opera del Duomo which I believe to have been the
_pluteus_ or parapet of the tribune in Arnolfo's time. It is in the
Cosmatesque work which Arnolfo often executed. That he was as apt a
pupil of the Cosmatesque revival of the _opus Alexandrinum_ as he had
been of Niccolò's figure sculpture, and his father Jacopo's
architecture, is evident by his tomb of Cardinal de Braye at Orvieto,
where we next find him working in 1285.[238] The tomb is a beautiful
mixture of Cosmatesque ornamentation with the legitimate sculpture
which he had learned from Niccolò. The capitals of the spiral inlaid
columns of the sarcophagus are of the true old Romano-Lombard form. In
the simple grace of the recumbent figure we descry a forerunner of
Donatello and Desiderio.

We have now traced Arnolfo's training through three or four of the
chief lodges, and always under the best Masters. It is then no marvel
that by 1294 his fame had risen so high that he was chosen as
architect of the Duomo of Florence. He was well known to the
Florentines, his master, Jacopo Tedesco, otherwise Lapo, having left
Colle to settle in Florence, where he was engaged to build the Palace
of the Podestà (Bargello). And this brings us to the vexed question of
the parentage of Arnolfo.

Vasari says that Jacopo or Lapo, whom he calls "il Tedesco" (meaning
Lombard architect), was the father of Arnolfo, and he gives this as a
certain fact, understood to be the case by the world in general for
two or three centuries past.

Milanesi, on the strength of the document quoted above, "Secum ducat
Senas Arnolphum et Lapum suos discipulos," says that Lapo was only
Arnolfo's contemporary and fellow-pupil.

   _See page 314._]

But neither Vasari nor Milanesi seem to reflect that there might have
been two Lapi. Certainly, if two youths are fellow-disciples of one
Master, it is not probable that the senior should be the son of the
other. On the other hand, if "Jacopo il Tedesco," said to be Arnolfo's
father, was elected head architect at Assisi in 1228, how could he
have been a young pupil of Niccolò di Pisa in 1266?

Recognizing these difficulties, Milanesi sets out in search of a
father for Arnolfo, in place of Lapo, his fellow-pupil. He comes
across a document in the archives of the "Riformazione" of Florence,
dated MCCC. Aprile 1, where the privileges of citizenship are accorded
to "Magistrum Arnolphum de Colle, filium olim Cambij."[239] In quoting
this, Gaye[240] says that in spite of it the Florentines will persist
in calling Arnolfo the son of Lapo. Now cannot these conflicting facts
be reconciled? It is a strange fact that in no other Florentine deed
except this one privilege is any sign of parentage given to Arnolfo.
He is so enveloped in the greatness of being _caput magister_, and the
greatest architect of his day, that his parentage seems to be lost
sight of, though the universal custom of the day was to cite the
father's name as well as the son's in a document. Therefore, though we
have never before heard the surname of Jacopo il Tedesco, there is no
reason in the world why it should not be Cambi. By the time Arnolfo
was grown up, Jacopo Tedesco had lived many years in Florence; he
therefore, having become a Florentine citizen, may have taken office
and might have been connected with the Cambio, or Exchange there,
taking his name from that office, as a large family of Cambi during
the Republic seems to have done.

I incline, however, to another theory--that Cambij is a corruption of
Campij, or Campione--for the following reason--As early as 1228 Jacopo
Tedesco was already a _Magister_, and of such fame that he was chosen
as master architect of the grand church of S. Francesco at Assisi, in
conjunction with Fra Philippus de Campello. In spite of Fergusson's
opinion that the architect of these large buildings was generally a
mere builder, working under some ecclesiastic who drew the plan, the
evidence goes to prove, in this case, that Jacopo the layman was _capo
maestro_, and Fra Philippus the ecclesiastic only _aiutante_
(assistant). Campello was a corruption of Campiglione or Campione,
which name, first taken from a place near Como, became afterwards the
distinctive title of the Parma school of Comacine Masters. We find it
spelt in different documents: Campillio, Campellio, Campilionum,
Campione, often shortened into Campi͠o or Camp͠i. All the older
writers say that Jacopo Tedesco was a Comacine or Lombard, and if so,
he was one of the Campionesi. His name occurs in a stipulation made at
Modena on Nov. 30, 1240, where he and Alberto are qualified as uncles
of Magister Enrico, one of the contracting parties.[241] This may well
have been the father of Arnolfo, especially as Baldinucci[242] asserts
that Jacopo Tedesco lived at Colle in Val d'Elsa, where Arnolfo was
born, while his father was building the castle there. With these
lights Milanesi's documental "Arnolphus de Cambii" may be accounted
for. If the members of the Campione school in the north took that as
their name, why should not Jacopo also have signed himself Campione?
It is more than probable he shortened it according to custom into
Campi͠o, and may not have been very particular to distinguish
between the kins-letters p and b, a very common fault in the sketchy
spelling of old MSS., and especially likely to occur if, while
Lombardy was a German province, he should have imbibed a German
accent. This would reconcile all the dispute. Arnolfo was evidently
closely connected with the elder Lapo, his style being so similar.
Compare the Palazzo Vecchio and Bargello with Lapo's castle of Poppi,
and the relation is evident. His connection with the younger Lapo is
equally clear. In the list of qualified masters in painting at
Florence, quoted by Migliore in _Firenze illustrata_, p. 414, is
Niccolò Pisano's pupil, who is called Lapo di Cambio. This would
suggest that Arnolfo and his fellow-pupil Lapo were brothers as well
as fellow-pupils, so that when Lapo the younger finished Jacopo
Tedesco's (Lapo the elder's) work at Colle, he was only following out
the usual rules of the guild, in which the son succeeded the father.

   _See pages 257 and 317._]

The thirteenth century was a time of immense development in art; what
Niccolò and Giovanni di Pisa did for sculpture, Jacopo Tedesco and
Arnolfo did for architecture. Jacopo was the first to introduce the
pointed arch into Central Italy, at Assisi; Arnolfo further developed
it in his cathedral at Florence, where the arches of the nave are
round, and the windows pointed. After this era we have no more
Romanesque--the reign of Italian Gothic has begun.

The Basilican form, too, has vanished; we have now the nave and
transepts of the Latin cross. No longer the small double-arched
window, but long pointed arches filled with beautiful tracery. The old
symbolic animals linger on, but in the subordinate form of grotesques
in ornamentation.

That distinctive mark of the guild, the lion of Judah, takes a new
position in the Italian Gothic. It is no longer between the pillar and
the arch, but beneath the column, as Niccolò and Guido da Como first
placed it in their pulpits. You see it under the pillars of the north
door of the Florentine Duomo, where the transition into Renaissance
is indicated by a particularly classic figure of a child standing by
the lion; and under the central column of the windows of the Spanish
chapel in the cloister of S. Maria Novella, where it serves to mark
the fact that the architects Fra Sisto and Fra Ristoro (who in the
documents of the time are styled Magister Fra Sisto and Magister Fra
Ristoro) were members of the Masonic Guild.

Jacopo, the inaugurator of Italian Gothic, spent all his later years
in Florence, having left Colle many years before, when he had finished
the castle there. Jacopo's work in Florence consisted of the building
of the Bargello, which is a perfect specimen of the late Comacine
style, built in _modo gallico_ with large smoothly-hewn stones. The
connection of the Masters of the guild with the south of Italy is
shown here as well as at Pisa, for it is said that King Manfred
commissioned Jacopo Tedesco to design the sepulchre of the Emperor
Frederic in the abbey church of Monreale in Sicily. (Manfred died in

Jacopo also introduced a reform into Florence. In the time when Messer
Rubaconte of Como was Podestà of Florence (1236, 1237), his
compatriot, Jacopo Tedesco of Campione, near Como, proposed to him
that the streets should be paved with stones instead of bricks, to
which Messer Rubaconte agreed, and the same method of paving still
continues in Florence.

The second Lapo, Arnolfo's fellow-pupil, and perhaps brother, was the
author of several buildings in the end of the thirteenth century,
which Vasari falsely attributes to Jacopo the elder. He also continued
Jacopo Tedesco's fortifications at Colle.[243]

Whether we look on Arnolfo as the son of Jacopo Tedesco, or only as
the pupil of Niccolò Pisano, he was, either way, one of the guild; and
more, a follower of Jacopo rather than of Niccolò, his bent being
rather architectural than sculptural. We can, then, place Arnolfo as
the first head of the _laborerium_ of Florence; and in tracing the
formation of this branch of the guild, we shall throw a light on all
the former branches, which, from want of systematic documents, have
remained as formless organizations of _schola_, _laborerium_, and
_Opera_. After trying in vain to find something more explicit about
these organizations at the National Library and State Archives, I
consulted the director of the Opera del Duomo, who kindly saved me the
work of long puzzling over old MSS., by lending me a copy of Cesare
Guasti's valuable collection of abstracts from the books of the
_Opera_, from the earliest days of Arnolfo to the completion of the

Here the whole organization stands revealed. Here are the meetings of
the lodge, and the subjects discussed; the names of the _Magistri_ and
Council of Administration from year to year; the payments to
architects, artists, and men; the legal contracts and business

It is clearly seen how the _Opera_ is connected with the _laborerium_,
and how the meetings are always composed of some civic members from
the Council of Administration, and some from the working Masters of
the lodge.

One, dated October 15, 1436, reports a meeting in the Opera del Duomo,
at which the attendant _Operai_ or councillors were Ugo Alessandri,
Donato Velluti, Nicolo Caroli de Macignis, and Benedict _Cicciaporci_
(pig's flesh); here's a nickname! They deliberated on the advisability
of sending for a certain Francesco Livii de Gambasso, _Comitatus
Florentiæ_, who was at Lubeck in Germany, to make the painted windows
and mosaics. Francesco, when he came back to the city which he had
known in his boyhood, and where he had learnt his art, bound himself
to work in the _laborerium_ of the _Opera_, "et in dicta civitate
Florentiæ in Laboreriis dictæ Operæ toto tempore suæ vitæ eidem
continuum, ac firmum inviamentum exhiberent, ita, et taliter, quod
ipse una cum sua familia victum, et vestitum in præfata Civitate
erogare posset."[244] This one document gives valuable proof on
several points.

It proves that whether or not Italy got her architects from Germany,
Italian Masters were employed in Germany.

It proves that there was a guild in Florence, "Comitatus Florentiæ,"
to which Francesco Livii belonged, and that there was a _laborerium_
in Florence, in which Francesco, when a boy, had learned his art, and
risen to the rank of Master. It proves, moreover, that the
_laborerium_ was connected with the _Opera_.

Another meeting of the same _Opera_ on November 26, 1435, held to
consider all the designs for the choir of the Duomo, marks this
connection still more plainly.

"Nobiles viri Johannes Sylvestri de Popoleschis, Johannes Tedicis de
Albizzis, Johannes ser Falconis Falconi, Jacobus Johannis de Giugnis,
et Hieronymus Francisci dello Scarfa, Operarii dictæ Operæ, existentes
collegialiter congregati in loco eorum residentiæ pro factis dictæ
Opera utiliter peragendis, absque aliis eorum Collegis, et servatis

"Attendentes ad quandam Commissionem factam per eorum Offitium de
ordinatione Altaris majoris dictæ Ecclesiæ, et Chori ipsius Ecclesiæ
infrascriptis Civibus, et Religiosis Sacræ Theologiæ, Magistro Jacobo
Grægorii del Badia Ordinis Fratrum Minorum, Magistro Sandro de
Covonibus Converso Hospitalis Sanctæ Mariæ Novæ de Florentia,
Francisco alterius Francisci Pierotii della Luna Nerio Gini de
Capponibus egregio Medicinæ Doctori, Magistro Paulo M. Dominici, et
Juliano Thomasii Gucci, omnibus Civibus Civitatis Florentiæ, et ad
quemdam rapportum per eos factum coram eorum Offitio infrascriptæ

Here follow the criticisms of this council on three designs for the
choir: one by Filippo Brunelleschi; one by Nencio di Bartoluccio; a
third by Magister Agnolo da Arezzo.

Observe that we have as master architects of the guild, a monk and a
hospital warden, called on the Commission with the _Operai_, who were
influential citizens, but not qualified Masters. This seems to throw a
light on the word _colligantes_, "Magister comacinus cum colligantes
suos," in the old laws of Rotharis. Would not the _colligantes_ mean
the Consuls and _Operai_, members of the _Opera_ or administrative
body in these great works of church-building, whom the _Magistri_ of
the guild elected from the influential men of the city in which they

Here are a few translations of his quaint statements of the orders the
_Provveditore_ received from the _Operai_--

"_June 1353._--Operai: Lotto, Lapo, Piero di Cienni, Simone di Michele
Ristori. They tell me to make haste and obtain the payments from the
'Camera' (council), and the 'Gabelle' (octroi). I must manage that by
St. John's Day; the 'covelle' of the Campanile must be finished. And
to do that, I must get two of the _Magistri_ from Or San Michele. And
the scaffolding must be taken down from S. Giovanni (the Baptistery),
so that the work may be seen."

This entry shows how many buildings the guild were engaged on, and how
the architects of them all were under the command of the _Opera_, or
centre of administration for all.

"_August 14, 1353._--Piero, Lotto, and Simone." (Every entry begins by
naming the _Operai_ in council.) "To order designs for a
tabernacle.... Get it made. To order the design for the campanile, and
in what kind. Have it done in wood. To order marble, for the work at
the summit. To tell Francesco[246] there is work for a year. About
the rations of Neri Fieravanti. Give him the money to pay all the
master's claims, and you, Filippo, shall be the pay-master, and we
will provide the means." ("Dalle danari per pagare tutti i maestri
loro, e tu Filippo sia loro camarlingo, e noi ti faremo

The way in which the _Provveditore_, Filippo Marsili, talks of
himself, and puts down his orders from the _Operai_ just in their own
words, is naïve in the extreme. His memoranda are certainly

Here is another very busy day--

"_September 26, 1353._--Operai: Simone, Migliorozzo, Francescho,
Piero." (This time the head architect, Francesco Talenti, was in
council.) "To elect a salaried lawyer. About a notary for citations.
About the nine hundred and fifty lire which the Commune has of ours.
To pay by the piece, rather than by the day. To send to Carrara (for
marble). Put it off till All Saints' Day. Of the many documents we
need.... To reason with the Regolatori.[248] To speak with the
captains of the Misericordia about our many legacies.... Tell them to
let us know when they meet. About the Wills. To discuss it with Ser
Francescho Federigi (a notary). To find means to get ready money. Try
and get a discount on the tax on assignments. About the wine for the
Masters. Take it away entirely. About Francesco and the window ... to
pay the Master who had the commission ... and when the work is done,
have it valued, and the surplus, or the deficit, will be entered to
Francesco" (head architect).

Truly it was no sinecure to be _Provveditore_ for the guild of
architects in those days. He must have had his hands full indeed! When
the Masters were not satisfied with their pay, and a work had to be
appraised, like this window, a special council was called, consisting
of the Consuls of the Arte della Lana, who were the Presidents of the
_Opera_, the members of the _Opera_, and all the _Magistri_ of the
_laborerium_. The Masters were then called on one by one to give an
estimate of the work, and discuss its merits; a ratio was taken, and
the medium price fixed.

The same kind of council was called to consider any designs.
Generally, several of the _Magistri_ sent in their designs, or models
made of wood. These were discussed in council, and votes taken before
the final commission was given. The report of one of these meetings,
where each Master naïvely voted for his own design, is very amusing.

The Masters were strictly bound by contract to the _laborerium_. In
some cases they were paid by the day. We find, on May 29, 1355, that
the salaries of Masters were lessened by two soldi a day, and workmen
by one soldo. Sometimes the Commune found them wine and rations; at
others they were paid by the piece, by contract. On June 7, 1456, the
_Provveditore_ writes--"It is desired that on no account shall any
Master go to work outside the Opera, without the deliberation and
consent of all four Operai. If any absent himself without this
permission, he shall be considered as discharged."

The schools attached to the _laborerium_ must have been very complete.
They trained pupils in the three sister arts--architecture, sculpture,
and painting. One sees the remains of them in the Belle Arti at
Florence, Siena, and other towns, and the Academy of St. Luke at Rome.
Not all the _Magistri_ were teachers, but there were certain of them
who held office as Professors. Niccolò di Pisa was certainly one of
these, and so were Cimabue and _Magister_ Giotto.

This full art-education accounts for the artist of the Renaissance
being such an all-round man. One finds a painter like Giotto, or a
sculptor like Niccolò Pisano, building grand architectural works.
Sometimes they graduated in all three arts, as did Landi, Giotto, and
Leon Battista Alberti.

When they graduated in the schools, they became _Magistri_ of the
guild, and could then undertake commissions. Besides the _Magistri
fratelli_, there were the undergraduates as it were; in old Latin
documents they are written as _fratres_; below these were the novices
or pupils. The workmen employed by them were quite unconnected with
the guild, and were paid daily wages as manual labourers.

The light thus thrown on the organization of the Masonic Guild by the
valuable collection of documents made by Cesare Guasti, seems to me to
explain much that was puzzling in the Florentine city guilds. For
instance, why, among all the _Arti_, is there none which includes
architects, sculptors, or painters? It would have been supposed that
in the early days of the republic, when the Commune spent its wealth
and enthusiasm on erecting great and noble buildings, architecture
would certainly have ranked among the greater _Arti_, even in
competition with the wool-combers and silk-weavers. But there was no
such civic guild. There was a minor one for masons and stone-cutters,
but it was established later for workmen and mere house-builders, and
had nothing to do with great architects or master sculptors; while
painters who wished to be members of the Commune and have any hand in
the government, had to enroll themselves in the Goldsmith Guild, or
the "Arte degli speziali" (doctors and apothecaries). The existence of
this Freemasonic Guild would explain this hiatus in the greater arts.
While such a powerful and self-governing body existed, which had
evidently the monopoly for Italy in the art of church-building, a mere
city guild would never have been able to compete with it, and would
have been superfluous.

That it really held the monopoly is more than probable. We have traced
the Comacines through each gradation, have seen the successive schools
and branches started by them in each place where they had great works
in hand. The Buoni family at Modena going on to the south of Italy and
then to Pistoja, founded that school. The Campione branch at Verona
and Parma hence passed to Assisi and Florence. The Lucca school of
Lombard Masters spread to Pisa and gathered into it native talent.

The later gathering of Lombards and Pisans at Siena thence moved to
Orvieto, and sent a branch to Florence in the persons of Jacopo
Tedesco and Arnolfo. There taking root it grew into the goodly flower
of the Renaissance. And after efflorescence,--decay; the old
organization, by degrees, dissolved in the greater freedom of art.
Each Master aimed to stand alone on his own merits, and was no longer
necessarily enrolled as one in a guild.

A great many things besides are revealed to us by Guasti's collection
of documents. We find that Arnolfo died in 1310; Vasari read it
wrongly as 1300, so that Arnolfo would only have worked a year or two
at his Duomo. The correct entry in the archives is--"IIII idus
(martii) Quiescit magister Arnolfus de l'opera di Santa Reparata

It is a strange coincidence that the death registered before Arnolfo
in the Necrology should be a man named Cambio, a locksmith, but he
seems to have no connection with Arnolfo, whose parentage as usual is
not indicated.

Thus we see that Arnolfo at the most only worked eleven or twelve
years at a building which took more than a century to finish. How much
did he accomplish? Probably not more than the foundations and the
design which he left, and which may be seen to this day; for it is
usually understood that the church in the fresco of the Spanish chapel
represents the Duomo as Arnolfo designed it. After his death Florence
fell upon warlike times, and was unable to continue the work till
1331, when the "city being in a happy and tranquil state, recommenced
the building of the church of Santa Reparata, which had for a long
time been in abeyance, and had made no progress, owing to the many
wars and expenses which the city had undergone." The deed goes on to
relate that the Arte della Lana was placed at the head of the
administration, and that a tax of two denari per libbra on all moneys
paid to the Commune should be appropriated for the expense, as had
been decreed before. They further added another tax on the customs, so
that the two amounted to 12,000 _libbre picciole_ a year. Besides
this, every shop in Florence was to have a money-box where they were
to place _il denaro di Dio_ (tithes) on all they sold.[250] I quote
this to show how cities in the good old church-building days paid
their architects. It is probable that the schools of the guild had
continued in this interval, though the _Magistri_ may have had to seek
work elsewhere, for by July 18, 1334, we find Giotto as a _Magister_,
selected as architect of the Campanile, though he seems to have had
very little to do with the Duomo. His marvellous tower, in its varied
colouring and artistic effect, shows the hand of a painter rather than
an architect. He did not live to see his work completed, for on
January 8, 1336, he died, soon after his return from Milan, where he
had been sent in the services of the Visconti, and had a public
funeral at the expense of the Commune in Santa Reparata. The fact
that the work of his tower went on in his absence, proves that he must
have had brethren in the guild capable of carrying out his plans. As
the foundations were only laid in July 1334, and Giotto died in
January 1336, after a long absence at Milan, one wonders how he found
time to sculpture the reliefs in his Hymn of Labour. However, we must
take Ghiberti's testimony for it. In his second _Commentary_, Ghiberti
says[251]--"The first line of reliefs which are in the Campanile which
he erected were sculptured and designed by his own hand. In my time I
have seen his own sketches beautifully drawn." A contemporary
anonymous commentator on Dante writes[252]--"Giotto designed and
superintended the marble bell-tower of Santa Reparata in Florence, a
notable tower and costly. He committed two errors--one that it had no
base, and the other that it was too narrow. This caused him such grief
that, they say, he fell ill and died of it." I think indeed that if
Giotto had found any error he would have rectified it in the plans
which he left for his successors. That it had no foothold is not true,
for the solid foundation was placed so far beneath the surface that it
stood firm on the solid _macigno_ (kind of granite rock) twenty
_braccia_ below.

His successor was of another branch of the guild, but a Masonic
_Magister_ all the same. On April 26, 1340, Andrea di Pisa was
elected by vote by the Council of the _Opera_ to succeed Giotto as
head architect.[253]

There must have been other _Magistri_ proposed as candidates, if the
Council had to resort to black and white beans for the voting. Andrea
only lived a few years; he died, or retired from office, in 1348, the
year of the great plague; and Francesco Talenti became _caput
Magister_ in 1350. Francesco was a brother of Fra Jacopo Talenti,
_Magister lapidum et edificorum_, who was joint architect with Fra
Ristoro of the convent and church of Santa Maria Novella from 1339 to
1362. Francesco, like his brother, must have been in the guild; he
worked at Orvieto cathedral among numbers of Como and Lombard Masters
in 1329. In April 1336 we find him called to Siena as an expert.[254]
There had been discovered some defect in the columns. Francesco's
companion from Florence was Benci di Cione. His office as _capo
maestro_ of the Duomo of Florence continued some years, though he did
not reign alone, but was associated with Giovanni di Lapo Ghino, who
after 1360 is called joint _capo maestro_. The principal documents of
their administration prove that there were endless councils and
arguments about the size, height, and placing of the columns, and
discussions on Talenti's plan for the chapels at the east end. This
seems to have been a crucial question.... Councils of four _Magistri_
in each were held for three consecutive days--July 15, 16, and 17,
1355; and their opinions given in writing. On August 5 the grand
united council of twelve Masters and the whole lodge was held, when
the proportions for the columns were decided, and Francesco's design
for the chapel approved.

Another Council was held on June 8, 1357, with the _Operai_ and
Consuls of Arts, and their ecclesiastical colleagues, when the
undermentioned Masters and monks gave their counsel on the church--a
proof of the close affinity of ecclesiastics with the Masonic Guild.

     Frate Francischo of Carmignano
     "     Jacopo Talenti. S. M. Novella
     "     Franciescho Salvini. S. Croce
     "     Tommasino. Ogni Santi
     "     Jachopo da S. Marcho
     "     Piero Fuci, e
     "     Filippo sacrestano di S. Spirito
     "     Benedetto dalle Champora
     Magister Neri di Fieravanti
     "        Stefano Messi
     "        Franciescho Salviati
     "        Giovanni Gherardini
     "        Giovanni di Lapo Ghini
     "        Franciesco dal Choro
     "        Ristori Cione
     "        Ambrogio Lenzi, or Renzi

The report was written by Sig. Mino, notary of the guild; the spelling
of the names is his own.

Several of the same monks met at the _Opera_ on July 12, 1357, to
consult about the placing of the columns in the second foundation.

Also, on July 17, 1357, to choose between two designs of columns and a
chapel made by Francesco Talenti and Orcagna, when each candidate
elected two Masters as arbiters. Francesco Talenti chose Ambrogio
Lenzi, a Lombard, and Frate Filippo Riniero of S. Croce. Andrea
Orcagna chose Niccolò di Beltramo, also a Lombard, and Francesco di
Neri. These could not decide, and Piero di Migliore the goldsmith was
taken as umpire, the parties binding themselves to abide by his
decision. Giovanni di Lapo Ghino and Francesco Talenti were ordered
to make new designs. At length, on July 28, Orcagna's plan was chosen.

Talenti's office was no sinecure; we often find him disputing with
other Masters. Indeed, the lodge greatly lacked unity. Disintegration
was beginning. On August 5, 1353, the _Provveditore_, Filippo Marsili,
writes--"I must get Neri di Fioravanti and Francesco Talenti to settle
that dispute within fifteen days. They must choose an arbiter each,
and may elect the third arbiter by joint consent." They chose Benozzi
as mutual third. Again on October 4, 1353--"The Master who executes
Francesco Talenti's design for the window must be paid his demands.
When the work is done, have it valued, and the balance more or less to
go to Francesco's account."

He seems also to have been an improvident sort of man. Here are two
tell-tale entries in Filippo Marsili's memorandum book--"July 12,
1353. Advance him as soon as convenient the pay for four months. Take
it out, by deducting half his salary weekly." Again in November the
entry is--"Lend him what he wants."

In 1376 Francesco's son Simone became joint _capo maestro_ with Benci
Cione, Orcagna's father, at a salary of eight gold florins a month.
Simone graduated also in the sculpture school, and executed a figure
for the façade, for which he was paid thirteen florins on September 4,
1377. Zanobi Bartoli, also a _Magister lapidum_ (sculptor), was at the
same time paid twenty gold florins each for two marble figures, though
he received only eighteen florins for his statue of the Archangel
Michael in December of the same year.

Francesco's colleague, Giovanni di Lapo Ghino, is a good instance--one
of many--of the hereditary nature of the guild. We first hear of Ghino
at Siena in the thirteenth century. On February 7, 1332, his sons
Simone and Jacopo, or Lapo di Ghino, sign a contract with Agostino
and his son Giovanni of Siena, to build a chapel in the Pieve S. Maria
at Arezzo--that of Bishop Tarlati, Bindo de' Vanni and his son
Francesco, with two other _Magistri_, being witnesses.[255]

In 1362 a certain Ambrosius Ghino is named in a list of the lodge. He
may have been a brother or nephew of Lapo. Then comes the third
generation, and we find Giovanni, son of Lapo di Ghino, at Orvieto. He
afterwards came to Florence, where he was elected _capo maestro_, at
first in unison with Jacopo Talenti, and later by himself. In 1388 old
Ghino's great-grandson, whose whole pedigree is given in the books as
"Michele, Johannis, Lapi, Ghini," became in his turn _capo maestro_ of
the Duomo of Florence. His descendant, Antonio Ghino, also graduated
in the Florentine Lodge, but he went back to Siena, where he appears
as one of the _Magistri_ employed there in 1472.

This family is only one of many hereditary Masonic brethren. The Cione
family is another instance. The first Masters of the name appear in
Florence on July 1355, as Ristoro and Benci Cione, two members
attending the Council on Francesco Talenti's design for the chapels,
but whether they were brothers or father and son I cannot tell; I
presume brothers, or Benci would have been written down as Benci
Ristori di Cione.[256] We have seen Benci Cione called to Siena as an
arbiter. He was much occupied in Florence, where he worked at the
building, or rather adaptation, of Or San Michele. He and Laurentius
Filippi (Lorenzo, son of Filippo Talenti) were joint architects of the
Loggia dei Lanzi, Lorenzo superintending the sculpture, and Cione the
architecture. Lorenzo has set the sign of the guild on the base of his
columns by surrounding them with small pillars on which lions are
crouching; the proportions and ornamentation of the building are
beautiful. Orcagna has always been credited as the architect of this
Loggia, but he is here proved not to be the original designer, though
he probably worked with his father.

Orcagna's name, Andrea di Cione, first appears in the great Council
with monks and _Magistri_, held on June 18, 1357, to decide on the
space which should be left between the columns of the Duomo.[257]

Andrea's nickname of Orcagna, a corruption of Arcangelo (Archangel),
has clung to him through centuries, and over-shadowed his real
patronymic of Cione. The relation between him and Benci di Cione
remains rather obscure. Orcagna has also had the credit of building
the church of Or San Michele. Probably writers confuse Orcagna, or
Andrea di Cione, the sculptor of the beautiful shrine in that church,
which is his masterpiece, with the Benci di Cione who was architect of
the building. From the close connection of the two in the guild, and
from Orcagna having worked so much with Benci, I think it probable
they were father and son. Milanesi is rather uncertain about the
father of Orcagna, and in the genealogical table at the end of his
life he writes him as Cione with a note of interrogation, and no
Christian name, which may well have been Benci.

   _See page 333._]

Orcagna first studied painting under his elder brother Nardo (short
for Bernardo), who was enrolled in the "company of St. Luke." But this
was only one branch of Andrea's art-education. He matriculated in the
Masonic Guild (_Arte dei maestri di pietra e legname_), in the books
of which it is written--"Andrea Cioni, called Archangel, a painter of
the parish of S. Michele Visdomini, took his oath and promises in the
said guild, Magister Neri Fioravanti being his sponsor, in 1352,
sixth indication, October 29."[258]

It was Orcagna's way to emphasize his varied qualifications by signing
his paintings, "Andrea di Cione, scultore," and his sculptures,
"Andrea di Cione, pittore." On his masterpiece, the shrine in Or San
Michele, he has inscribed, "Andreas Cionis, pictor Florentinus,
oratorii arch magister extitit hujus MCCCLIX." The expression
"Archmagister of the Oratory" (or shrine) explains many things. It
tells us that the whole of that complicated piece of sculpture, though
it may have been designed entirely by Orcagna, was not entirely
executed by him, but that, like other _Magistri_, he had a band of
brethren working under him; for how could he have been _chief_ Master
where there were no lesser ones under his command?

It is interesting in studying the working of the Masonic Guild, of
which Orcagna signs himself Archmagister, to see how they are occupied
in building several grand edifices at once. The immense number of
Masters congregated in the Florentine Lodge rendered this possible,
and wealth was not lacking in the city to employ them.

The books at the _Opera_ reveal how the Council of Administration
dominates the _laborerium_. We shall see how the busy _Provveditore_
has to change the _Magistri_ about from Santa Croce to Or San Michele;
or from the Duomo to San Michele Visdomini, just as need presses. He
has to order marbles for all and any of these edifices; to call
councils to consider designs for all kinds of different buildings and
parts of buildings, such as windows, chapels, doors, etc. Sometimes we
find him commissioning a certain architect to make a plan for a
chapel, or a door, or a window. When Talenti and Giovanni Ghino had
both made designs for the tribune in October 1367, the usual councils
were not enough to decide the momentous question which to choose. The
whole city had to be called into council, together with the monks
(_frati colleganti_), the _Magistri_ of the guild, etc. Hundreds and
thousands of people came to the _Opera_, looked at the designs, signed
their names on the list of approval, for one or the other.

After the joint reign as _capi maestri_ of Giovanni di Lapo Ghino and
Francesco Talenti, came a varied line of master builders lasting for a
hundred years, so that it is impossible to say that any one man was
the architect of the Duomo. Between Arnolfo's first plan and the final
Italian Gothic development of the fifteenth century lies the whole
history of the development of art.

The next great _capo maestro_ after Talenti was Ambrogio of Lenzo or
Lanzo, near Como, one of the Campione school. His name is given in a
deed of February 3, 1363, as "Ambroxius filius magistri Guglielmi de
Champiglione." It is remarkable that an ancestor and namesake of this
"Ambroxius" was also written down as "filius Magistri Guglielmi" in
1130, two centuries earlier, when they were leading members of the
Campione school at Modena, and sculptured the façades of Modena and
Ferrara cathedrals; so our Ambrogio of Florence was one of the
distinguished aristocracy of the lodge, his family dating from its
cradle in Lombardy. From the deed which we quote we find that Ambrogio
graduated under his father, and made his first contract with Barna
Batis, then _Provveditore_ of the _Opera_ of the Duomo, to provide and
prepare the black marble necessary to the work, for every _braccio_ of
which he was to be paid six soldi eight denari. This is the original--

     "_Archivio dell' Opera dell Duomo_, February 3,
     1362.--Ambroxius filius magistri Guglielmi de Champiglione,
     comitatus Mediolani, emancipatus a Domino magistro Guillielmo
     patre suo, ut continere dixit publice manu ser Joannis
     Arriglionis notarii de Champiglione, conduxit a Barna olim
     Batis provisore Operis Sancte Reparate de Florentia, locante
     vice et nomine operariorum ... ad faciendum et digrossandum
     totum marmum nigrum quod erit necessarium dicto operi, hinc ad
     unum annum proxime venturum, illarum mensurarum prout dicetur
     eidem per capomagistros dicti operis. Et dictus Barna locavit
     eidem die dictum marmum ad fovendum et digrossandum, et
     promisit pro dicto opere eidem Ambroxio de quolibet brachio
     dicti marmi dare eidem Ambroxio soldos sex et denarios octo f.
     p., etc. Que omnia, etc."

Ambrogio or Ambrose remained many years in Florence. His name often
appears in council. In 1356 he was elected head architect of the
Duomo, and also of the restorations at the Baptistery. On April 4,
1384, when as an old man he attended a meeting to decide whether the
pilasters of the tribune were strong enough to support the dome, his
name is given as Ambrogio de Renzo. A marked instance of the effect of
twenty years among Florentine dialect, which has an inveterate habit
of mixing up l's and r's. His son, Giovanni d'Ambrogio di Lenzo, who
afterwards became _capo maestro_, was also in council, and Orcagna was
chosen umpire.

But between the reign of Ambrogio and that of his son we have various
changes in the directorship. In 1381, Giovanni, son of Stefano, called
Guazetta, became _capo maestro_ together with Giovanni Fetti, who was
also of the guild, and preparing first in Siena, and next at Florence,
for his future work in Lucca and Bologna. Giovanni Fetti designed and
made the fine "window towards the houses of the Cornacchini, under the
third arch of the nave."

Guazetta's peculiar line was laying foundations and devising
complicated scaffolding. He also made the presses of the sacristy. He
was perhaps not enough of a builder to hold the office of chief, for
in 1375 this pair resigned in favour of Francesco Salvetti and Taddeo
Ristori. Salvetti, however, very soon renounced office, preferring to
remain in the guild on a simple salary, rather than incur

Then Francesco Talenti's son Simone, who had by this time become a
_Magister_, was put in his place with Taddeo Ristori. Their reign
lasted till 1388, when Michele, son of Giovanni, son of Lapo, son of
Ghino, was elected. In his time the pilasters of the tribune were

In 1404 Ambrogio's son Giovanni was elected _capo maestro_. Here is
the part of the entry of the _Deliberation_, November 17,
1404--"Operaris ... elegerunt et nominaverunt et deputaverunt in caput
magister dicte opere Sancte Reparata providum virum Johannem Ambroxii,
etc. etc., cum salario florenum otto, pro quolibet mense cum
auctoritate, balia et potestate usitate et consueta."--_Delib._ xlix.

Another deliberation, dated June 17, 1415, states that "Johannem
Ambroxii caput magister" shall give the order for the species and form
of the bricks for some special part.

Giovanni, the last of the Campione school whom we can register, was
deposed for old age, and Baptista Antoni elected in his stead. He was
probably the son of Antonio, the Grand Master mentioned above.

Giovanni had not always time to carry out his own designs. In 1408 we
find that Magister Niccolao, surnamed Pela, took the contract to carve
in marble the doorway near the chapel of the crucifix, which was
designed by "Johannem Ambroxii, caput magistrum." It is rich with
vines and other ornaments. Niccolao did not push the work, however,
and in May 1408 the _Opera_ decided that he owed the guild the sum of
twenty-five florins for breaking his contract.

The number of different minds each leading the works in his own
department is bewildering. The beautiful door called the Mandorla, so
rich and elegant in sculpture, which is often said to have been
executed by Jacopo della Quercia, was in reality the work of Nanni di
Antonio di Banco. The books of the _Opera_ register, on June 28, 1418,
a payment of twenty florins on account to Nanni for this doorway, and
in 1421 the last payment was made on the completion of the work. Nanni
was a favourite scholar of Donatello; he was a person of good birth,
who matriculated in the _Arte dei Maestri di Pietra_ on February 2,
1405, and proved his membership by sculpturing the four patron saints
of the Masonic Guild on Or San Michele.

We further find in this precious collection of documents that Magister
Jacopo di Lapo Cavacciani made a model for a shaft; that Nato di Cenni
and Jacopo di Polo were, in August 1357, engaged to make the bases of
the columns, and that time after time different Masters were called on
to make plans for chapels, windows, doors, etc.

Now we know the state of the building as it stood in this fourteenth
century, we realize that it was not left for centuries without a dome.
The old chronicler Buoninsegni, in his _Storia Florentina_, lib. iv.
p. 642, says--"A di venti di giugno 1380 si cominciarono a riempire et
murare i fondamenti della cupola di S. Maria del Fiore." Up till this
time the nave only seems to have been built.

On August 7 a meeting of _Magistri_ was called to consult on the
foundation for the cupola, and on November 12, 1380, there is a long
document commissioning "Bartolommeus Stefani, Johannes Mercati, and
Leonardus Cecchii, Magistri Florentini," to build the pilasters to
support the dome, which are to be of good stone and cement, and the
builders are cautioned not to work in times of frost or snow, etc.
etc. These pilasters caused much anxiety in the guild; in 1384
constant meetings were held about them. The Masters were afraid the
foundations of the one towards Via dei Servi were not firm; day after
day in July 1384 they met in scores to examine and report on it. Then
they called in the consuls of the _Art of Wool_, the _Operai_, and all
the chief men of the city; and everybody, excepting a certain Messer
Biagio Guasconi (who after all was not an architect), agreed that the
foundation of the pilaster was perfectly safe. However, good Messer
Biagio still held his own opinion and refused to sign approval.

From the steady way in which the work went on, it is certainly
possible and probable that there would in the natural course of the
work have been a dome to the cathedral even without Filippo
Brunelleschi. It was in the original plan, and the foundations and
pilasters were placed in readiness for it. There was much talk of the
difficulty of placing the framework of the scaffolding for it, but
there seems to have been no doubt that it would be accomplished. In
fact numbers of the Masters sent in plans for it at different times.

The first time that Brunellesco appears in the records is at a meeting
of consuls, _Opera_, and Masters, convened on November 10, 1404, to
consider a certain error in measurement committed by the _capo
maestro_, Giovanni di Ambrogio. The question turned on the placing of
the (_sprone_) brackets on the façade which interfered with the

It does not seem that Brunellesco belonged to the brotherhood. He is
merely mentioned as Filippo the goldworker, son of the notary
Brunelleschi (_Filippus ser Brunelleschi aurifex_). In no place,
either here or elsewhere, is he ever called _Magister_, and throughout
his life his every action was a protest against what he called "the
_Maestranze_" a term of contempt like "their Master-ships," which
Brunelleschi applied to the _Arte dei Maestri_. He had matriculated in
1398, when twenty-one years old, in the _Arte della Seta_, but as his
tastes were strongly artistic, and he refused to follow his father's
profession of lawyer, he enrolled himself in 1404 in the _Arte degli
Orafi_ (goldsmiths), in which so many painters were already eminent.
The goldsmiths or metal-sculptors, who seem to have seceded from the
Freemasons, were still in some measure colleagues of the Masonic
Guild, and their members were often called to vote or advise in the
councils of the _Opera_.

Thus we find Brunellesco as one of the _orafi_ called into council
about the construction of the brackets. He appears to have held office
as councillor in the _Opera_ for a year till 1405, when he was paid
off. He was probably one of the _Operai_ on the part of the city.

When in the famous competition of 1402 Brunellesco lost the commission
for the doors of the Baptistery, he left Florence in dudgeon, and with
his friend Donatello went to Rome. His studies of the methods of the
ancient Romans in making their great domes, suggested to him a way of
vindicating his _amour propre_ by defeating the whole guild of
"Masters" on their own ground. He had made architecture a special
study, and now thoroughly investigated the classic methods. He got to
the roof of the Pantheon, and made studies of the stone-work in the
ribs of the cupola, investigated the foundations, the supports, etc.,
and came back to Florence, where he let drop mysterious hints among
the influential members of his own trade company, and in the studios
of one or two artists, that even if the "_maestranze_ were to call
their Masters from France or Germany, and all parts of the world, none
of them would be able to make a dome equal to the one he could make."
The Masters of the _laborerium_ at length heard of these assertions,
and called on him to show his plans, which he declined to do.

Then the _Opera_, on August 19, 1418, announced a competition. Any
artist whatsoever who had made a model of the projected cupola was to
produce it, before the end of September, the model accepted to have a
prize of 200 gold florins. The date of decision was prolonged to
October, and then to December, when a number of models were sent in,
the competitors being Magister Giovanni di Ambrogio, C.M. of the
_laborerium_, Manno di Benincasa, Matteo di Leonardo, Vito da Pisa,
Lorenzo Ghiberti, all _Magistri_ of the Masonic Guild; Piero
d'Antonio, nicknamed Fannulla (do nothing), Piero di Santa Maria in
Monte, masters in wood. There were several models by members of the
civic company, the _Arte dei Scarpellini_ (stone-cutters); and last,
not least, a model in brick and mortar without scaffolding, made by
Brunellesco, Donatello, and Nanni di Banco,[260] so he was obliged
after all to show his design. This last won the prize, but the _Arte
dei Maestri_ had not evidently faith enough in one outside their ranks
to commence at once with the building. In Signor Cesare Guasti's
collection of archivial documents regarding the building of the Duomo,
we find that from October to December 23, 1418, several of the
Masters, including Magistro Aliosso, Mag. Andrea Berti Martignoni,
Mag. Paolo Bonaiuti, Cristofero di Simoni, and Giovanni Tuccio, were
receiving payment for building a model in masonry of Brunellesco's
plan for the cupola. I do not find that Brunellesco himself was
employed in this, the only payment to him being "50 lib. 15 soldi" for
his work on the lantern of the model, between July 11 and August 12,
1419; proving that he put the finishing touch, but that the Masters of
the guild themselves tested his design for the great dome before
finally adopting it. This brick model, which was built on the Piazza
del Duomo, remained there till 1430, when the _Opera_ ordered its
destruction. Guasti[261] gives in full this order, which is dated
January 23, 1430, and is in the usual low Latin of contemporary
documents. When the model was finished, the _Magistri_ of the guild
assembled on May 14, 1421, to hold council on it. There are entries of
expenses for a breakfast to the Masters, and for torch-bearers to
accompany them on their internal investigations. We find the same
ceremony of refreshment to the _Magistri_ who visited the works of the
real cupola in 1424, when six flasks of Trebbiano (the best Tuscan
wine) with fruit and bread were provided. In 1420 Brunellesco was
definitely commissioned to superintend the cupola, but even then the
_Magistri_ could not admit an outsider to full Masonic privileges. He
was not named _caput magister_, as one of the guild would have been,
but he and Ghiberti (whose model had been next best) were named
_provisori_ of the dome, while the Magister Baptista di Antonio was
_caput magister_ proper of the lodge. The terms of the contract were
that "the _provisori_ were to superintend the works, providing,
ordering, building, and causing to build, the cupola from beginning to
end, etc. etc."

At first both Ghiberti and Brunellesco drew three florins a month. The
head _Magister_, Baptista, had the usual salary of the guild as head

The story of Brunellesco's restiveness at his old rival Ghiberti being
associated with him in carrying out a design peculiarly his own, and
how he tried to throw scorn on him, by locking up his plans and
feigning illness, thus leaving Ghiberti to work in the dark, is too
well known to need repetition here.[262] Perkins[263] is very hard on
Ghiberti's ignorance, which, he asserts, was so great that he was
obliged to resign because he could not do the work. But there are two
sides to every question. How could a man carry out a work designed
and begun by another without seeing his plans? Besides, Ghiberti's
resignation, or rather relinquishment of his work at the cupola just
then, was, I believe, due to the fact that he had a few months before
received a commission for the second bronze gates of the Baptistery,
and wanted his time free for them. This commission is dated January 2,
1425. His salary as _provisore_ of the cupola ceased for a few months
from June 28, 1425. The dates speak for themselves. He still, however,
held office, or returned to it with partial pay, for in 1428 we find a
decree of the _Opera_ which raises the salary of Brunellesco to 100
gold florins a year, while Ghiberti only draws his usual three florins
a month. But even then not an order is ever given in Brunellesco's own
name; every document and every receipt was signed by Baptista
d'Antonio, _caput magister_, and Filippo di Ser Brunellesco,

And now let us see who were the underlings employed by Brunellesco.
Finding the workmen of the Florentine Lodge were disaffected, he got
ten Lombards, and shut out all the Florentines, till they humbly came
back, begging to be taken on again, which he did at a lower salary
than before.

The Lombard element was still strong in the guild. A certain _Maestro
di legno_, named Magister Antonio of Vercelli, invented a convenient
mode of drawing up weights into the cupola. The workmen had a kitchen
and eating-house up in the dome, so that they did not need to descend
in the middle of the day. In fact the _Opera_ made strict laws about

In 1436 another competition of models for the lantern was proclaimed,
and again Brunellesco won the palm against Ghiberti and others. It
seems that when the commission was given to Brunellesco, the Masonic
Guild must have felt it _infra dig._ to make a non-member _capo
maestro_ of the dome. Consequently they matriculated him into the
fraternity. But with his jealousy of the _maestranze_ and
determination to show that one need not be a Freemason to build a
church, he ignored this membership and never paid his fees, on which
the Masters of the _laborerium_ sued him for debt, and he was
imprisoned. This did not suit the City Patrons of the _Opera_, who
were the all-powerful _Arte della Lana_, especially as Brunellesco's
_Arte della Seta_ was also on his side. A stormy meeting was held in
the _Opera_ on August 20, 1434, at which the civic party was too
strong for the _Maestri_. It was decreed that Brunellesco should be
liberated, and one of the _Arte dei Maestri_ was imprisoned, on the
plea of hindering public works![264]

After this triumph of independent architecture Brunellesco became in a
manner architect in chief to the city. He built the pretty Loggie of
the Foundling Hospital on Piazza della SS. Annunziata, and the Pazzi
Chapel at Sta. Croce, both of which Luca della Robbia adorned with his
beautiful blue and white reliefs. He erected the fine Palazzo
Quaratesi on Piazza Ognissanti, and the remarkably grand church of
Santo Spirito was after his death built from his designs.

Brunellesco's strike for independence appears to have given the
death-blow to the great Masonic Guild which, as it became more
unwieldy, had been slowly disintegrating. The local members in large
cities like Siena and Florence, becoming too strong for the original
Lombard element, had asserted their independence by forming other
guilds of a local nature, in which even the ancient quartette of
patron saints was forgotten. How long the lodge in Florence kept
together after Brunellesco's defiance I do not know, though its
educative influence certainly lingered on till Michael Angelo's time,
he being as all-round an artist as any _Magister_ of older days who
could build a church and decorate it too.

The _laborerium_ of the Florentine _Opera_ must, however, have been
closed by the time of Michael Angelo; for Lorenzo de' Medici had to
supplement it by giving up his garden in the Via Larga as a school of
sculpture, there being then no place where the art was taught. His
teaching, however, was a heritage from the ancient guild, for old
Bertoldo, scholar of Donatello, was the Master there, and the works of
the Masonic Brotherhood for two centuries, together with the classic
treasures collected by the Medici, were his models.


[236] (The five preceding artists were in the Council of July 1355.)

[237] Milanesi's _Vasari, Vita Niccolò e Giovanni Pisano_, vol. i. p.

[238] The Cardinal died in 1290, so he must have given the commission
during his lifetime.

[239] In the register of deaths it occurs that Arnolfo's mother's name
was Perfetta.

[240] Gaye, _Carteggio degli Artisti_, vol. i. pp. 445, 446.

[241] We find these same men, Alberto and Enrico his kinsman,
sculpturing in San Pietro at Bologna in 1285.

[242] Baldinucci, tom. iv. p. 96.

[243] Milanesi, vol. i. p. 283.

[244] _La Metropolitana Fiorentina Illustrata_, p. 54. Firenze, Molini
e Co., 1820.

[245] _La Metropolitana Fiorentina Illustrata_, p. 59. Firenze, Molini
e Co.

[246] Francesco Talenti, head of the _laborerium_.

[247] Cesare Guasti, _Santa Maria del Fiore_, p. 77.

[248] Here is another office in the organization of the guild which we
have not hitherto met with. The _Regolatori_ must have formed the
economical council, to control expenses.

[249] Carta 12 of _Antica Necrologia di Santa Reparata_ in the
Archives of the Opera del Duomo.

Q. Davanzato f Alfieri.

Q. Cambio chiavaiuolo.

Q. Magister Arnolfus de l'opera di Santa Reparata MCCCX.

[250] Guasti, _Santa Maria del Fiore_, p. 29.

[251] _Cronaca di Lorenzo Ghiberti MS._ in the Magliabecchian Library,
Florence.--"Le prime storie che sono all'edificio, furono di sua mano
scolpite e disegnate. Nella mia età vidi provvedimenti di sua mano, di
dette istorie egregissimamente disegnati."

[252] "Compose et ordinò Giotto il campanile di marmo di Santa
Reparata di Firenze, notabile campanile et di gran costo. Commisevi
due errori: l'uno che non ebbe ceppo da piè, l'altro che fu stretto:
posesene tanto dolore al cuore ch'egli, si dice, ne infermò et
morissene."--_Commento alla Divina Commedia d'Anonimo fiorentino del
secolo XIV._, vol. ii. p. 188. Bologna, 1868.

[253] "Ac etiam cum magistro Andrea, majore magistro dicte opere:
facto prius et oblento partito inter eos ad fabas nigras et albas."
Andrea was a scholar of Giovanni Pisano, and had worked with him at
Pisa and Siena, where he is mentioned as _famulus Magistri Johannis_.

[254] "A Franciescho Talenti e al compagno da Firenze tre fiorini
d'oro per lo consiglio che diederono del Duomo nuovo."--Milanesi,
_Documenti per l' Arte Senese, Aprile 1336_.

[255] Milanesi, _Documenti per la Storia dell' Arte Senese_, tom. i.
p. 200.

[256] Ristoro had a son, Taddeo di Ristori, who was _capo maestro_ of
the Loggia dei Lanzi in 1376.

[257] This and many other deliberations at the same epoch put it
beyond a doubt that Arnolfo's church was considerably changed in form,
as time went on, if not rebuilt entirely.

[258] "Andreas Cionis, vocatus Arcagnolus, pictor populi Sancti
Michaelis Visdominis, juravit et promisit dicte arte, pro quo
fideiussit Nerius Fioravantis Magister in MCCCLII, indictione sexta,
die XX ottubris" (_sic_).--Milanesi's Vasari, _Vita di Andrea

[259] Extract from the books of the _Opera_, 1372, December
13--"Francischus Salvetti de sua propria et spontanea voluntæ qui erat
caput magister dicti operis Sancte Reparate renuntiat et repudiat
dicto officio, et quot non vult confirmus esse caput magistro in
presentæ operarorum."

[260] Milanesi, _Vasari, Vita Filippo Brunelleschi_, vol. ii. p. 351,

[261] Cesare Guasti, _La Cupola di Santa Maria del Fiore_, pp. 34, 35.

[262] See _Sculpture, Renaissance and Modern_, pp. 63, 64, published
by Messrs. Sampson Low and Marston.

[263] _Tuscan Sculptors_, Vol. I. chap. v. p. 135.

[264] Milanesi's _Vasari, Vita di Filippo Brunellesco_, vol. ii. p.
362, notes. See also Cesare Guasti, _La Cupola di Santa Maria del
Fiore_, p. 54, document 116.




   1. |  1387  | Magister Simone da Arsenigo  | First _capo maestro_ of
      |        |                              | Milan cathedral.
      |        |                              |
   2. |   "    | *M. Guarnerio da Sirtori.    | Assisted him.
      |        |                              |
   3. |   "    | *M. Marco da Frixone di      | Engaged March 5, 1387; C.M.
      |        | Campione                     | 1389; D. 1390.
      |        |                              |
   4. |   "    | *M. Jacopo Fusina da         | C.M. with Marco in 1389. Head
      |        | Campione                     | of the works at Certosa, 1397.
      |        |                              | Designed the Certosa.
      |        |                              |
   5. |   "    | *M. Zeno da Campione (his    | Brought 21 sculptors on Oct.
      |        | brother)                     | 18, 1387. By 1399 he had 250
      |        |                              | under him.
      |        |                              |
   6. |   "    | *M. Andrea degli Argani da   | From the Campione school at
      |        | Modena                       | Modena; was architect to the
      |        |                              | Duke of Milan. Called to
      |        |                              | to Milan in 1387 as counsel.
      |        |                              |
   7. |   "    | *M. Lazaro da Campione       |
      |        |                              |
   8. |   "    | *M. Rolando or Orlando       |
      |        |                              |
   9. |   "    | *M. Zambono (Giovanni Buono  | Descendant of Zambono, who
      |        | da Bissone)                  | was C.M. at Padua 1264, and
      |        |                              | at Parma 1280.
      |        |                              |
  10. |   "    | *M. Fontana da Campione      | Probably an ancestor of Giov.
      |        |                              | Fontana, the master of
      |        |                              | Palladio; and of Matteo
      |        |                              | Fontana, architect of Belluno
      |        |                              | cathedral in 1517.
      |        |                              |
  11. |   "    | *M. Cressino da Campione     |
      |        |                              |
  12. |   "    | *M. Giovanni da Azzo         |
      |        |                              |
  13. |   "    | *M. Giovanni da Trœnzano  |
      |        |                              |
  14. |        | *M. Martino da Arogno        |
      |        |                              |
  15. |        | *M. Ruggero } da Marogia:    |
      |        |             } brothers.      |
  16. |        | *M. Giorgio }                |
      |        |                              |
  17. |        | *M. Alberto                } | All Lombards who worked
      |        |                            } | under Giovanni da Bissone
  18. |        | *M. Airolo                 } | (No. 9); the latter was his
      |        |                            } | son.
  19. |        | *M. Giovannino da Bissone  } |
      |        |                              |
  20. |  1387  | †Magister   }                |
      |        | Antonio     } di Guido,      |
      |        |             } brothers       |
  21. |        | M. Giovanni }                |
      |        |                              |
  22. |        | †M. Adamo                    |
      |        |                              |
  23. |        | †M. Giovanni di Furno        |
      |        |                              |
  24. |        | †M. Adriolo da Campione      |
      |        |                              |
  25. |        | †M. Guglielmo di Marco       | Son of Marco da Frixone,
      |        |                              | architect at Crema; called to
      |        |                              | Milan as expert, Oct. 1387.
      |        |                              |
  26. |        | M. Leonardo Zepo           } | Two Masters deputed to take
      |        |                            } | note of Magister Andrea's
  27. |        | M. Simone da Cavagnera     } | suggestion, Oct. 1387.
      |        |                              |
  28. |  1388  | *M. Ambrogio Pongione      } | Gave his vote at a meeting
      |        |                            } | of the lodge on March 20,
      |        |                            } | 1388.
      |        |                            } |
  29. |        | *M. Bonino da Campione     } | Voted at the same meeting.
      |        |                            } | Had been sculptor of the
      |        |                            } | Scaliger tomb at Verona in
      |        |                            } | 1375.
      |        |                            } |
  30. |        | *M. Gasparo da Birago      } | A famous iron-worker.
      |        |                            } | Magister of the lodge.
      |        |                              |
  31. |   "    | *Magister Ambrogio da      } |
      |        | Melzo                      } |
      |        |                            } |
  32. |        | *M. Pietro da Desio        } |
      |        |                            } | All these * voted with the
  33. |        | *M. Filippo Orino          } | chief architect Simone at the
      |        |                            } | same meeting, March 20, 1388.
  34. |        | *M. Ridolfo di Cinisello   } |
      |        |                            } |
  35. |        | *M. Antonio da Trœnzano }   |
      |        | (son of Giovanni da        } |
      |        | Trœnzano)               }   |
      |        |                              |
  36. |  1390  | M. Niccola del Bonaventura   | Made a design for the
      |        |                              | windows of the choir at
      |        |                              | Milan: not accepted:
      |        |                              | discharged from the lodge
      |        |                              | on July 21, 1390.
      |        |                              |
  37. |  1391  | M. Giovanni da Campione      | Sometimes called John from
      |        |                              | Fernach. He brought 100
      |        |                              | stone-carvers into the
      |        |                              | _laborerium_ in 1391.
      |        |                              |
  38. |  1399  | M. Antonio A. Padernò        | { Two rising Masters in 1399,
      |        |                              | { who fought the great
  39. |   "    | M. Marco da Carona           | { dispute with the French
      |        |                              | { architects.
      |        |                              |
  40. |   "    | M. Lorenzo degli Spazi, di   | Brought 188 stone-carvers
      |        | Val d'Intelvi                | with him to Milan. He was in
      |        |                              | 1396 C.M. at Como, and
      |        |                              | probably went to Milan with
      |        |                              | all his workmen, when the
      |        |                              | works there were suspended
      |        |                              | on Gian Galeazzo's death.
      |        |                              |
  41. |  1400  | M. Jacopo da Tradate         | In 1400 he was chief
      |        |                              | sculptor.
      |        |                              |
  42. |   "    | M. Samuele, his son          | Sculptured his father's tomb
      |        |                              | in 1402.
      |        |                              |
  43. |  1400  | M. Bertollo da Campione    } |
      |        |                            } |
  44. |        | M. Giorgio de Sollario     } |
      |        | (Solari)                   } |
      |        |                            } |
  45. |        | M. Guglielmo di Giorgio    } |
      |        | (his son)                  } |
      |        |                            } |
  46. | 1410 { | M. Giovanni de Solari      } | _Magistri_ working under
      |  to  { |                            } | Jacopo da Tradate at the
  47. | 1440 { | M. Giovanni di Reghezio    } | sculptures for Milan
      |        |                            } | cathedral.
  48. |        | M. Jacopo da Lanzo         } |
      |        |                            } |
  49. |        | M. Michele di Benedetto da } |
      |        | Campione                   } |
      |        |                            } |
  50. |        | M. Francesco Solari        } |
      |        |                            } |
  51. |        | M. Giovanni da Cairate     } |
      |        |                              |
  52. |      { | *M. Cristoforo da Chiona     | All these marked * were
      | 1420 { |                              | master architects, each
  53. |  to  { | *M. Arasmino Solari da       | building a certain part of
      | 1440 { | Arogna                       | the cathedral.
      |      { |                              |
  54. |      { | *M. Franceschino da Canobbio | Was C.M. in 1448.
      |        |                              |
  55. |        | *M. Leonardo da Sirtori      | Son or grandson of Magister
      |        |                              | Guarnerio (No. 2).
      |        |                              |
  56. |        | *M. Paolino da Arsenigo      | Son or grandson of Magister
      |        |                              | Simone (No. 1).
      |        |                              |
  57. |        | *M. Filippino degli Argani   | Son of Andrea degli Argani
      |        |                              | (No. 6), whom he succeeded
      |        |                              | as architect to the Visconti.
      |        |                              | Designed the choir window at
      |        |                              | Milan. Entered the lodge as
      |        |                              | novice, 1400; graduated
      |        |                              | master, 1404; C.M. 1417.
      |        |                              |
  58. |  1450  | M. Giorgio di Filippo        | His son: became C.M. in his
      |        |                              | turn in 1450.
      |        |                              |
  59. |  1451  | M. Giovanni Solari: son of   | C.M. from 1451 to 1470. He
      |        | Marco da Carona.             | forms a link with Venice.
      |        |                              |
  60. |  1470  | M. Guiniforte or Boniforte   | C.M. in 1470-1481. Built the
      |        | (son of Giovanni Solari)     | Ospedale Maggiore and church
      |        |                              | of Le Grazie at Milan.
      |        |                              |
  61. |  1481  | Magister Pietro Antonio: his | Went to Russia in 1481.
      |        | son                          |
      |        |                              |
  62. | 1468 { | M. Martino da Mantegazza     |
      |  to  { |                              |
  63. | 1492 { | M. Dolcebono Rodari          | Entered the lodge in 1490;
      |        |                              | was sent to Rome for
      |        |                              | training. His relative,
      |        |                              | Tomaso Rodari, was more
      |        |                              | famous than he, and
      |        |                              | sculptured the Renaissance
      |        |                              | door at Como.
      |        |                              |
  64. |        | M. Gerolamo della Porta      | Was employed later in Rome
      |        |                              | and Naples.
      |        |                              |
  65. |        | M. Salomone, son of Giovan   | One of the line descending
      |        | de Grassi                    | from Magister Graci, founder
      |        |                              | of the lodge at Padua.
      |        |                              |
  66. |  1471  | M. Bartolommeo de Gorgonzola | C.M. for the cupola of Milan
      |        |                              | cathedral.
      |        |                              |
  67. |  1488  | M. Leonardo da Vinci         | Engaged for the cupola, but
      |        |                              | resigned.
      |        |                              |
  68. |        | M. Antonio da Padernò        | Rectified the mistakes of
      |        | (descendant of the older     | John of Gratz.
      |        | Antonio, No. 88)             |
      |        |                              |
  69. |        | M. Giovanni Antonio        } | Joint architects to finish
      |        |                            } | cupola and cathedral of
  70. |        | M. Amedeo or Omodeo        } | Milan. Amedeo worked
      |        |                            } | afterwards in Venice.
      |        |                            } |
  71. |        | M. Gio. Giacome di         } | Dolcebono was son of
      |        | Dolcebono                  } | Dolcebono Rodari.
      |        |                              |
  72. |        | M. Francesco di Giorgio of } |
      |        | Siena                      } | Were called to advise on
      |        |                            } | the plans of the above
  73. |        | M. Luca Fancelli of        } | three.
      |        | Florence                   } |
      |        |                              |
  74. |  1506  | M. Andrea Fusina             | Descendant of Jacopo Fuxina.
      |        |                              | Andrea was elected C.M. to
      |        |                              | replace Dolcebono in 1506.
      |        |                              |
  75. |  1502  | M. Cristoforo Gobbo          | Sculptured Adam and Eve on
      |        |                              | the façade of Milan
      |        |                              | cathedral, etc.
      |        |                              |
  76. |      { | M. Gian Giacomo Bono da    } |
      |      { | Campione                   } |
      |      { |                            } | A later offshoot of the old
  77. | 1618 { | M. Francesco Bono, his son } | family of Bono or Buono, who
      |  to  { |                            } | have furnished _Magistri_
  78. | 1647 { | M. Carlo Antonio Bono, a   } | since 1152.
      |      { | relative                   } |
      |      { |                            } |
  79. |      { | M. Giuseppe Bono, his son  } |

All these marked * were engaged on Oct. 4, 1387, to work with Magister
Simone. The second batch given below and marked † joined the Lodge
on Oct. 9, five days after.


  80. |  1389  | Anichino or Annex of         | Was paid for the model of a
      |        | Freiburg                     | dome which was not used.
      |        |                              |
      |   "    | Giacobino de Bruge           | Fell ill, and was supported
      |        |                              | by the lodge.
      |        |                              |
  81. |  1391  | Ulrico di Ensingen           | Came for a few months.
      |        |                              |
      |   "    | Heinrich di Gmunden          | Entered, July 1391; left,
      |        |                              | June 1392.
      |        |                              |
  82. |  1399  | Jean Mignot de Paris         | Came from Paris.
      |        |                              |
  83. |        | Jean Campanias from Normandy | Campanias did not stay long.
      |        |                              |
  84. |        | Ulrich de Frissengen }       | Worked at Milan for a short
      |        |                      }       | time.
  85. |        | Aulx di Marchestein  }       |
      |        |                              |
  86. |  1482  | Giovanni da Gratz            | Engaged, 1482; discharged,
      |        |                              | 1488.


History repeats itself. We began the story of the Comacines in
Lombardy with their works under the invading Longobards, we end it
with their works under the usurping Visconti. The first era shows
their early Roman-Lombard style in its purity; the last shows the
culmination of their later Italian-Gothic style in its fulness.

Like Florence, Siena, Pisa, Pistoja, and other cities, Milan, on
freeing herself from Longobard and French tyrants, had become a
commune, but she could not escape the usual fate of a mediæval
commune, _i.e._ party faction, and the supremacy of a dominant family.
As Florence had her Guelphs and Ghibellines, Pistoja her Bianchi and
Neri, so Milan had her two warring families, the Torriani and
Visconti. The conflict was long, but in the end the Visconti
dominated. Matteo I. reigned over Cremona, Lodi, Bergamo, Pavia,
Alexandria, and Vercelli. Azzo Visconti subjugated Piacenza and Como,
etc. Luchino added Asti, Bobbio, and Parma; while his brother, the
Archbishop Giovanni, acquired Brescia, Genoa, and Bologna. His
nephews, Bernabò and Galeazzo II., divided the state, and lost part of
it. Genoa freed herself from Galeazzo, while Bernabò's vices and
cruelties caused rebellion everywhere.

Galeazzo's son, Gian Galeazzo, who was only fifteen when his father
died in 1378, married Isabella of France, he being then seventeen, and
she a child still. By this he gained, as his bride's portion, the
estate of Vertus in Champagne, and his descendants kept up the title,
which became Italianized into Conte di Virtù. His second wife was his
cousin, Caterina, daughter of Bernabò. To assure himself of her
heritage, he imprisoned his uncle in the castle of Trezza, where he
died a few months after, some say by poison. However this be, Gian
Galeazzo immediately rode into Milan, where he was proclaimed Signore
of Milan. Wenceslaus, Emperor of Germany, had already created him his
Vicar-general in Lombardy, so that his power was great. So great was
it that he was able to oust the Scaligers from Verona in 1386; the
Carraresi from Vicenza and Padua in 1387. In 1395 he induced
Wenceslaus to nominate him Duke of Milan, and to make the title
hereditary. Then, emulating his Longobardic predecessors, he began a
march of conquest southwards; took Perugia, Spoleto, and Assisi in
1400; Lucca in 1401; then he bought Pisa from the Appiani, and Siena
capitulated. Florence was next in his list, but luckily for her he
died at this juncture, and Florence escaped.[265]

These were the princes under whose auspices the cathedral of Milan
arose, a mountain of sculpture white as snow. In olden times there
were twin churches standing on the site of Milan cathedral: S. Maria
Maggiore, the winter church, and S. Thecla, the _estiva_, or summer
church. Santa Maria had two Baptisteries, one for male children, the
other for female. They both had marvellous towers: that of S. Maria
was two hundred and forty-five _braccia_ (about four hundred and
seventy feet) high, and of "admirable beauty." This tower was thrown
down and the church destroyed in the siege of Milan, 1162. After the
Peace of Costanza, Sta. Maria was restored by public offerings, and
the Milanese ladies, like the ancient Roman dames, threw their jewels
into the treasury. The façade of this restoration was of black and
white marble in squares, and the church was so large that it could
contain 7000 people.

By the fourteenth century Milan had become so wealthy and powerful
that it determined to build a church more beautiful than any before
it. To Gian Galeazzo is generally given the whole credit of this
initiative, but documents seem to prove it was a general move on the
people's part. On May 12, 1386, Monsignor Antonio dei Marchesi,
Archbishop of Milan, addressed a circular letter to his clergy, saying
that the church of the Blessed Virgin was old and dilapidated, and
"the hearts of the faithful" intended to rebuild it, which work being
very costly, the Archbishop prayed all his clergy to "institute
offerings in their churches, and to pray God to bless the work."

Again a year later he circulated another letter, to ask that all the
offerings thus gathered should be transmitted to Milan before the
_fête_ of St. Martin, as the faithful were anxious to continue the
work begun. Gian Galeazzo did his part by promulgating two edicts; one
dated October 12, 1386, instituting a _questua_ (collection) in all
the Ducal State for the benefit of the funds for the Duomo; the
second, dated February 7, 1387, decreed that all the money from the
_paratici_ of the city, which shall be paid as offerings during the
_fête_ of the Madonna in February of this and following years, shall
be dedicated to the building fund. The results of all these appeals
and decrees, and the small part the Visconti had in the giving,
appears in a letter from the deputies of the Fabbrica or Opera,
addressed to Gian Galeazzo, on August 3, 1387, saying--"Offerings have
been made with great devotion by every kind of person, rich and poor,
who have copiously and liberally aided the building. Now, O Signore,
we pray that you and your lady mother, your consort, and daughter, may
also transmit your devout oblations to subsidize the church."

This is the way the funds were found, and now who were the builders?
We have seen in a former chapter that the Visconti patronized the
Campionese school of architect-sculptors, and as the Comacines had
been associated with Milan for centuries, it was not necessary to look
far for architects. Indeed the very first batch of names which meets
our eye in the books of the _laborerium_ are all of the Lombard Guild.
Here is chief architect Simone da Arsenigo written down as _ingegnere
generale_; or _capo maestro_, Guarnerio da Sirtori; Marco, Jacopo, e
Zeno, da Campione; and Andrea from Modena; where we have seen the
Campione Masters established a school.

On October 16, 1387, a meeting was held by the commission of the Duomo
to discuss a project proposed by the administrators of the Fabbrica,
for forming a regular organization, and electing the proper officials.
It was decided--

1. To confirm the present deputies as superintendents of the work.
(Here we have the Tuscan _Operai_.)

2. To elect a treasurer-general.

3. To nominate a good and efficient accountant.

4. Also a good and efficient _spenditore_ (in Tuscany this is the

5. To confirm the election of Magister Simone da Arsenigo as head
architect of the building, and to nominate enough capable Masters to
assist him. (In Tuscany _capo maestro_ and _Maestri_.)

6. To confirm (considering their eminence in their art) Dionisolo di
Brugora and Ambrogio da Sala (an island in Lake Como near Comacina) in
their offices, and to choose others equally good to aid in the

7. To elect two or more _probi uomini_ (arbiters).

8. To elect lawyer, notary, and _sindaci_ (consuls) of the art.

9. "We also determine and ordain that Maestro Simone da Arsenigo, as
being chief architect of the said fabric, shall order and provide for
all the works done in the said church, and that he shall show
diligence, etc. etc...."

Here we have the exact organization we have seen at Siena, Parma,
Florence, etc.; and as there the Lombard Masters are the founders of
it, we find the same filing of documents, the same assigning of
different parts of the building to different Masters, and the same
calling of councils in the guild to consider and value the work. The
registers of administration are kept in precisely the same way. The
_spenditore_ keeps his books just as the Florentine _Provveditore_
does. Here are a few translations from the bad Latin of his entries--

"1387. _January 15._--For two lbs. of _morsecate_ for Maestro Andrea
degli Organi, four lire." (Andrea degli Organi of Modena was the Ducal
architect, the father of Filippo da Modena, a first-rate architect.)

"_January 19._--For a Master and forty-seven workmen to place the
foundations of the pilasters."

"_March 19._--To Simone da Arsenigo, chief architect, for eighteen
days in which he was engaged in work himself." (This entry would seem
to prove that when a Master did manual work with his men, he was paid
as they were in addition to his salary as architect.)

"_April 2._--To Maestro Marco da Frisone" (Magistro Marcho de
Frixono), "who was in the service of the Fabbrica, and began to work
on March 5, and finished on April 2, for his pay 12 lire 13 denari."

"_April 13._--To Maestro Andrea da Modena, architect to the Duke, for
his pay for the days he gave to the church in Milan, with the
permission of the Vicario Sig. Giovanni de Capelli, and the _XII di
provisione_" (one of the city councils, which acted as the president
of the lodge, as the Arte della Lana did in Florence), "and also of
the deputies of the Fabbrica, L. 19. 4."

"_May 2._--Lent to Maestro Marco da Frisono, 22 lire."

"_August 12._--For 84 workmen, 13 lire 13. 6. To 4 master builders,
_i.e._ Giovanni da Arsenigo, 5 lire 10; to Giovannino da Arsenigo, his
son, 5. 10; to Giovanni da Azzo, 5. 9; and Giovanni da Trœnzano, 5.
9;--18 lire in all."

In August we get entries of expenses for rope to draw water from the
well, and rope for raising scaffolding, for nails, baskets,
plumb-lines, water-levels, red paint to mark the planks, and other
things. On October 9, 1387, we find the _spenditore_ paying a
messenger to go to Crema with letters from the lodge to Maestro
Guglielmo di Marco, to call him to Milan to give advice on business
connected with the buildings.

On October 15 Guglielmo di Marco is paid 16 lire for his journey and
eight days' employment in examining and judging the work of the

On October 18, 1387, we have payment to Maestro Simone da Arsenigo and
ten companions (eleven in all), master builders. To Maestro Zeno da
Campione and twenty-one companions (twenty-two including himself),
master sculptors of "living stone" (_pietra viva_). The word which I
translate companions is _sotiis_ (_Mag. Symoni de Ursanigo et sotiis,
etc._), which would imply that they were all members (_soci_) of one
society, and is thus valuable as a confirmation of the brotherhood in
this guild.

In October 1387, Andrea da Modena, the Duke's architect, is again
engaged, but only as adviser; for which he receives _in dono fiorini
venti_; and Leonardo Zepo and Simone da Cavagnera are deputed to take
note of his suggestions.

"1387. _November 19._--For the payment of two large sheets of
parchment consigned to Simone da Arsenigo." (These must have been to
draw the plans.)

"1388. _April 19._--Paid Maestro Marco da Frixone and _soci_ for
plaster to make models of the four _piloni_."

In another entry, noting the payment of 81 lire as salary, Marco da
Frixone is named as Marco da Campione _detto_ di Frisone.

Merzario is of opinion that such names as Marc the Frisian, who was
one of the Campione school; Jacopo Tedesco, whom all old writers agree
was Italian; Guglielmo d'Innspruck, also a Campionese, have been the
cause of much misunderstanding, and have sent authors off on false
scents. It was the custom, in the books of the Comacines, to name
people from their _provenienza_, i.e. the last place they came from.
Thus at Siena you will find Niccolò da Pisa, while at Pisa he is
Niccolò di Apulia. Lorenzo Maitani was Lorenzo da Siena to the Orvieto
people, and Lorenzo d'Orvieto to the Florentines. Marco il Frisone,
born at Campione, is therefore a link between the German guilds and
the Italian; he must have worked at Friesland, and probably brought
back ideas of a more pointed Gothic from there.

These registers are ample proof that the builders just called in for
the building of Milan cathedral were of the Lombard Guild, and chiefly
of the Campione branch. It is not till 1389 that we find a single
German name, and then a certain "Anichino (Annex) di Germania" is paid
16 soldi for having made a model of a _tiburio_ (cupola) in lead, and
Giacobino da Bruge, who falls ill while working at the church, has a
slight subsidy given by the guild _per amor di Dio_. They are not
mentioned again, and neither of them seem to be Masters.

That Simone da Arsenigo was chief architect at this time, not a doubt
can exist. It is especially emphasized in a deed executed in December
1387. In it the Administration, "in consideration of their long and
continued experience of the pure and admirable goodwill, and the
_opera multifaria_ which the worthy man, Magister Simone da Arsenigo,
most worthy chief architect and master, has achieved in this church,
by constant diligence, and wishing to remunerate him better (pro
aliquali remuneratione bene meritorem), decide that whereas his salary
hitherto has been ten imperial soldi a day, it shall now be raised to
ten gold florins a month."

It is plain, however, that he worked in concert with the guild. Just
as at Florence and Siena, great councils of the Masters, both
architects and sculptors, were held to consider whether the
foundations were strong before continuing the building, so in Milan a
great meeting was called on Friday, March 20, 1388, in which all the
_Magistri_ were cited before their patrons, the Imperial
Vicar-General, and the Council of XII. (In Florence the Arte della
Lana took the post of President of the Works.) All the _Magistri_ were
charged to give their opinion on the building in its present state,
and to suggest any improvements they could.

First uprose Master Marco da Campione (Surrexit primus Magister
Marchus de Campilione, Inzignerius), and said there was an error in
the wall on the side of Via Compedo, the wall being, in one part,
"half a quarter" wider than the measure given. He suggested undoing
that part to the foundation.

Then the chief architect, Simone da Arsenigo, rose, and proposed to
cut the stones down to the ground, but not to remove them.

Maestri Giacomo and Zeno agreed with Maestro Marco, as did Maestro
Guarnerio da Sirtori and Ambrogio Pongione.

Then uprose Maestro Bonino da Campione (whom we saw last at work on
the Scaligers' tombs at Verona), and said that he not only agreed with
the others, but found an error in the _piloni_ in the body of the
church, towards the door of the façade.

Gasparolo da Birago, worker in iron, Magistri Ambrogio da Melzo,
Pietro da Desio, Filippo Orino, Ridolfo di Cinisello, and Antonio da
Trœnzano, all voted with him.

The words "according to the measure given" (_justa mensuram super hoc
datam_), prove that however many architects superintended special
parts, there was one supreme Master who made the design.

This was first, as we have said, Simone da Arsenigo, and after him
Marco the Frisian of Campione, whose salary is paid on March 31, 1389,
naming him as "Mag. Marcho de Campilione dicto de Frixono inzegnerio
fabricæ." His name often appears as chief architect till July 10,
1390, when "he died at the Ave Maria in the morning, and was buried
with honours the same evening in the church of S. Thecla."[266]

One of Marco's contemporaries in the _laborerium_ was Jacopo da
Campione, whose name appears with that of Nicola del Bonaventura, and
Matteo da Campione, and others, at a general meeting held on January
6, 1390. Historical authorities say Jacopo da Campione was of the
Buono family, and some assign as his father Giovanni Buono. He, too,
had a cognomen of Fuxina or Fusina, but whether a family name or a
place name I cannot tell. His name first appears in the books of the
guild with Zambono, or Giovanni Buono, supposed to be his father, with
Magistri Zeno, Andriolo, Lazaro, Rolando, Fontana, Cressino (all from
Campione), and with Alberto, Airolo, and Giovanni da Bissone, and
Anselmo da Como. These must have been the Masters who responded to the
invitation for architects sent out by the Milanese.

On April 15, 1389, Jacopo da Campione was elected chief architect in
connection with his friend Marco da Campione.

A competition for designs for the great window of the choir was
announced in 1390, and Jacopo da Campione and Niccola del Bonaventura
each sent a design, from which the archbishop was to choose. He
preferred that of Bonaventura, but the Master fell into disgrace, and
his window was never executed. We find that the Administration, on
July 31, 1390, "deliberated" to discharge Master Bonaventura, give
him the salary due to him, and remove him entirely from the lodge.
Jacopo da Campione remained in office till the end of 1395, when he
and Marco da Carona retired for rest and change to Lake Lugano. They
were not allowed to be away long, for they were recalled on January 9,

During that year new honours were preparing for Jacopo. Gian Galeazzo
Visconti was intending to rebuild the Certosa at Pavia, and set his
eyes on Jacopo da Campione as the best architect he could find for it.
The Masters of the Milan Lodge dared not dispute the will of the
all-powerful Duke, and held a meeting on March 4, 1397, at which it
was decided "that Jacopo di Campione, chief architect of the building,
_qui acceptatus est super laboreria Cartuxiæ_, should still retain his
position in the works of the Duomo, because the entire absence of the
Master who began the building (_qui principiavit ipsam fabricam_)
would cause grave peril and injury to the work. They proposed,
however, that Maestro Jacopo might, in cases of necessity, assist in
the building of the Certosa, as he had done before."

This document sets the question beyond a doubt that the architect who
had most to do with the building of Milan cathedral was this Jacopo of
Campione, who had worked with the first architect, Simone, and shared,
on his death, the post of chief, with Marco, his fellow-countryman. He
died on October 30, 1398.

During the time he was head of the _laborerium_ several Germans worked
under him; Milan being so near the German frontier was always a
favourite object of German travel. Moreover, I fancy there must during
these centuries have been a fraternal intercourse between the Italian
Masonic Guilds and those of Germany. We have so many Italians who
worked in Germany, and coming back were dubbed with the name of the
last place they came from, that it is equally likely that some
Germans crossed the border with those fellow-guildsmen on their
return, and worked at Milan. This intercourse between the two nations
would account for the more German style of Milan cathedral as compared
with other Italian churches.

   _See page 358._]

I have before remarked that the lines of architecture gradually take a
more upward tendency the further north we go. The slight point of the
arch, as seen in Siena and Orvieto and Florence, is much sharpened in
Milan; the rows of little round archlets which covered a Romanesque
building with rich horizontal lines, have here become elongated and
pointed, all the lines tending upwards, till they become almost
monotonous; yet Milan is but the natural northern development of the
southern Italian Gothic. It was always the tendency of the guild to
seek greater richness of ornamentation in multiplying forms already
customary to them. As the Romanesque façade was merely a
multiplication of the Lombard single gallery, so the Gothic of Milan
is but a multiplication and elongation of the turrets and pinnacles of
Siena and Orvieto, and of the pointed gables over elongated arches,
with almost an abuse of the perpendicular shaft. Of course I do not
speak of the façade in these remarks, that being a discord by the
later Renaissance architects. The changes may well have been induced
by the strong German influence in the guild.

There were also French artists, such as Jean Mignot de Paris, and Jean
de Campanias of Normandy.[267] We hear of a Niccolò Bonaventura from
Paris, but his name is too Italian for his nationality to be mistaken.
He probably had been employed in France, and brought back the French
sculptor-architects with him. All these names, with the Germans
mentioned below, are to be found in the report of a meeting of
_Magistri_ in 1391. They are qualified as _Magistri di pietra viva_
(sculptors). The German names are, Ulrich de Frissengen di Nein, Aulx
di Marchestein, and Johannes Annex di "Friurgo" (Freiburg?). This last
has been confused by writers with Giovanni de Fernach, who was a
Campionese. Giovanni da Campione worked for many years in Germany, and
when he returned was as usual dubbed a German, being called John from
Fernach. He brought a hundred stone-cutters to the service of the
Duomo of Milan in February 1391. The Administrators approved of him,
and considering that he knew Germany and its language, and was a judge
of good work, they sent him to Cologne to try and procure some good
architects. He went, but finding no one of great talent, he returned
unsuccessful, and was obliged to refund to the guild half the cost of
his journey. As a compensation, the Administration commissioned him to
prepare a design for the southern sacristy. He appears to have shut
himself up to prepare this great plan in secret, for on November 1,
1391, the Deputies of the Administration order the _Provveditore_ to
send "Giovannolo and Beltramolo" to get the Archbishop's order to
command Giovanni de Fernach to explain his intention about the work on
which he was engaged; because, "if his plan was not approved, they
would not wish it proceeded with."

Then Fernach began to say that Johannes di Firimburg was right, and
that the proportions of the church, with which his sacristy had to
harmonize, were wrong. On this the President, the Archbishop, and the
Deputies sent to Piacenza for an expert, named Gabriele Stornaloco, a
great geometrician, to settle the vexed question. He came, made his
calculations, and decided that the German critics were in the wrong.
Not satisfied with this, they next prayed the Duke to send his
sculptor, Bernardo da Venezia, to give his opinion. He came to Milan
in November 1391, made his computations, and also decided that the
Germans had made a mistake. Then Fernach's plan for the sacristy was
handed over to the chief architect, Jacopo da Campione, to modify its
proportions; and Fernach's name appears no more in the books of the

Another German in the _laborerium_ was an architect, Magister Enrico
or Ulrico di Ensingen, near Ulm. He came in July 1391, but only
remained a few months, and then disappeared. Another Enrico or Ulrico
(the _spenditore's_ orthography is diverse and mixed) da Gamodia or
Gmunden, then appears. This is the Heinrich of Gmunden, whom the
guide-books generally name as the architect of the Duomo. We will now
see precisely how much was due to him. His name appears at a meeting
on May 1, 1392, in which Jacopo da Campione, as usual, holds the first
place. Enrico da Gamodia, as he is written in the books, was but
lately _returned_ (_ritornato_) from Germany, and had offered himself
to design and work in the building of the Duomo. He allowed himself to
raise doubts and express censure of the solidity and strength of the
work already done. Public discussions were raised as to the validity
of his objections. A great meeting was called, in which his name
appears at the bottom of a long list of Masters, all Italian. To the
questions as to the solidity and beauty of the building, and whether
it should be continued on the same plan or not, all the other Masters
agreed that the design could not be improved. Heinrich of Gmunden
alone answered stubbornly, _non assensit_.

The guild soon after decided on cutting off useless expenses, and
among others the salary of Magister Heinrich, who was "dismissed," and
"sent about his business" (licentietur ad eundum pro factis suis). The
German appealed to the Duke of Milan, who begged the Deputati to
reconsider their decision. They, however, held firm, and calling
Heinrich before them on the 7th of the following July, told him that
he had not served the cause well (in designamentis et aliis
necessariis pro Fabrica male serviverit). They gave him six florins
for his journey and dismissed him. "Yet," as Merzario says,[268] "to
this man who came to Milan at the end of 1391, and left in the middle
of 1392, is given by many people the credit of having designed the
Duomo of Milan, which was begun in 1386, and also of the Certosa of
Pavia begun in 1396."

Nor did Ulrich da Ulm, whom we have mentioned, achieve much more than
his compatriot. He came in 1391, and only stayed a few months. In
1394, however, he again offered his services, and was reinstalled on a
profitable contract. But he too had the national spirit of criticism,
and vaunted his own plans of improving the church, while he detailed
his opinion of the flaws in the existing plans, and doubts on the
stability of the building. Of course a meeting of the lodge was
called, and as before the majority went against Ulrich's new
improvements. However, they sent to Pavia to ask the Duke to let his
architect, Nicola de Lelli, come to Milan and arbitrate. He replied
that they had better send a deputation with all the plans to Pavia, as
he could not spare the architect. So the _capo maestro_, Jacopo da
Campione, and Giovannino de' Grassi accompanied Ulrich to Pavia, to
confer with the Duke and his architects, with the result that the
present work was pronounced good, and Ulrich's designs and innovations
rejected. The _spenditore_ records that Ulrich's salary was paid: he
too was sent off (ad eundum pro factis suis).

During the three following years no German names are met with in the
books. Then came the death of Jacopo da Campione in 1398, and the
_laborerium_ seems to have had no capable Master to replace him. And
now we shall see how this Masonic Guild was ramified throughout

The Deputies sent to Giovanni Alcherio, a Milanese living in Paris, to
see if some architect could be spared from the works at Notre Dame. He
proposed Jean Campanias from Normandy and Jean Mignot of Paris,
mentioned above, who were accepted, and came to Milan in 1399, with a
painter named Jacopo Cova. Mignot was made architect of the two
sacristies. He coveted the supreme post of chief architect of the
whole building, but he met with serious rivals in Marco da Carona and
Antonio da Padernò, two young _Magistri_ who were fast rising in the
guild to fill the place of Jacopo and Marco da Campione and Simone da

There was schism in the guild. Mignot found fault with everything in
the Duomo, the size, the proportions, the _piloni_, the capitals, the
windows, the tracery, and all the ornamentation. Marco and Antonio
declared that Mignot's sacristy was of a false rule of measurement,
and the arch of his window wrong in its lines. There were meetings in
the lodge, and endless disputes, till Mignot also disappeared from the

The Campione school of Masters still held its own: we now find that
Matteo da Campione was sent for from Monza. Zeno da Campione, brother
of the late Jacopo, also came with two hundred and fifty stone-cutters
under him to carve the capitals, pinnacles, etc. etc. There was
Lorenzo degli Spazi di Laino in Val d'Intelvi, also of the same
school, who brought one hundred and eighty-eight stone-carvers to the
_laborerium_, and who won fame for the fine sculpture they produced.
Can one wonder at the wealth of sculpture in and on the cathedral,
when only two _Magistri_ can furnish more than four hundred workmen
between them? When one looks at the lavish marble work on the roof,
the plurality of artists is well accounted for.

Giovannino dei Grassi, or Gracii, seems to have succeeded Jacopo as
_capo maestro_, and his designs and Jacopo's were kept with reverence
in the rooms of the Administration.

In 1400 Jacopo da Tradate is the "supreme sculptor" to the fabric. He
did the statue of Martin V. in commemoration of that Pope's visit to
Milan in 1418, after the Council of Constance, when he consecrated the
principal altar. Jacobino da Tradate also sculptured the mausoleum of
Pietro, son of Guido Torello, Marquis of Guastalla, in S. Eustorgio at
Milan. His son, Samuele, was a friend of Andrea Mantegna's, and once
visited him on the Lago di Garda. He too was a sculptor, and made his
father's tomb in the cloister of S. Agnese, which he inscribed--"Jacobino
de Tradate patri suaviss:--Qui tamquam Praxiteles vivos in marmore
fingebat vultus--Samuel observantis. V. F."

In 1402 Duke Gian Galeazzo died, and during the minority of his son,
art, architecture, and sculpture languished. Few famous names are
preserved, and all of those were from the neighbourhood of Como. Those
mentioned in the books as continuing the work between 1402 and 1440,
are Jacopo da Tradate, Bertollo da Campione, Giorgio de Sollario,
sculptors, and Paolino da Montorfano, a painter. At a later period
other Masters appeared, and we find Giovanni de Solari from Val
d'Intelvi, Guglielmo di Giorgio and Giovanni di Reghezio, Jacopo da
Lanzo, Michele di Benedetto da Campione, Francesco Solari, and
Giovanni da Cairate, all sculptors, with Cristoforo da Chiona,
Arasmino Solari da Arogna, Franceschino da Canobbio, Leonardo da
Sirtori, Paolino da Arsenigo, and Giovanni Solari, all Lombard
engineers and architects.

Of all this crowd, two men rose to especial eminence: Magister
Filippino degli Argani da Modena, and Giovanni Solari da Campione, who
had a special connection with the domestic Gothic architecture of
Venice. Filippino was son of Andrea degli Argani, architect to the
Visconti. He showed so much talent for his father's profession that
Duke Gian Galeazzo himself nominated him as a novice in the lodge of
the guild. A letter, dated January 8, 1400, was addressed by the Duke
to the Administrative Council of the lodge, saying--"Considering
the fine genius shown even in boyhood by Filippo, son of our
architect, the late Maestro of Modena, we advise that his talents
shall be cultivated, and that he shall be practised in the technical
arts, especially by the assistance and instruction of good masters....
Therefore we decree that the said Filippino shall enter the said
_laborerium_ (of the Duomo at Milan), and we recommend him for
instruction therein."[269]

   _See page 363._]

Filippino so far justified this recommendation, that when, on March 6,
1412, a competition was offered for designs for the window behind the
choir, he won the commission. Many authors, not heeding the authentic
documents, have given the credit of that window to Buonaventura from
Paris. In 1404 Filippino was made _Magister_ of the guild, and given
office under Marco da Carona. In 1406 he sculptured a beautiful
sepulchre to Marco Corello, a Milanese who had left all his patrimony
to the works of the Duomo. On Marco da Carona's death he became chief
architect of the cathedral, with the three _Magistri_, Magatto,
Leonardo da Sirtori, and Cristoforo da Chiona under him. An act passed
by the guild on May 19, 1417, confirms him as "Superior et prior
aliorum inzigneriorum de fabbrica," on a term of twelve years, at a
salary of twenty florins a month. At the expiration of the twelve
years he was not removed from office, but was given two colleagues
with equal power to his own. These were Franceschino da Canobbio and
Antonio da Gorgonzola.

In April 1448, much to his disgust, Filippo was entirely suspended.
Francesco Sforza interceded on his behalf with the Administration, but
they replied that Franceschino suited them better. Again in 1450, when
the Duchess Bianca Visconti recommended Filippo's son Giorgio as a
worthy successor to his father, the Council again asserted that they
had no wish to discharge Franceschino da Canobbio. Then the Duke,
irritated by this repulse, wrote the following strong letter to the
Council--"Our beloved (_Dilecti nostri_). As the illustrious Madonna
Bianca our Consort has advised you, and considering the respect and
devotion which the late Magister Filippino bore to the memory of our
Consort's late celebrated father, also considering his valuable and
praiseworthy works, in the building of the cathedral, and other
edifices and fortresses, I beg that you will be pleased to elect as
architect to the Duomo, Magister Giorgio, son of the said late
Magister Filippino, with the usual salary, and nothing less. If you
wish, you are at liberty to elect four experts, who shall inform
themselves of the capabilities of the said 'Magister Zorgo,' and
whether he be sufficient for the post. We shall be obliged if you will
nominate him to the said office on the usual terms, by which you will
also oblige our Consort. Given from Milan, November 7, 1450."

The Council had to bow to this command, but the nomination of Giorgio
"degli Argani" was not decided on till the meeting of July 6, 1451,
and then only a moderate salary was given him, "want of funds being
assigned by them as a reason." Giorgio's death, occurring soon after,
ended the difficulty, and Giovanni Solari became his successor. A
convention, dated September 24, 1450, between some masters and the
Council, concludes--"It is to be observed that Giovanni di Solari is
the head architect deputed to this work, which must be done according
to his designs and conditions."

Giovanni was the son of Marco da Carona, formerly chief architect. In
the deed of his nomination is the sentence--"son of the late Marco,
who through all his life exercised the office of architect in such a
mode that few or none could even equal him."[270]

   _See page 368._]

Two months after this election, Duke Francesco Sforza wrote a very
commanding letter from the camp at Trignano, saying, he recommended
the nomination of Antonio da Firenze (Filarete) and Giovanni da
Solari, in place of Filippino degli Argani. The latter was already at
his post, but the Council again defied the Duke by saying they had no
need of Filarete; on which the Duke retired from his self-imposed
office of adviser, and left the lodge to manage its own business,
which it always intended to do. Giovanni da Solari being left in
peace, carried on the works, and so beautiful were they, that even to
the _Magistri_ themselves the building seemed "more divine than

He was succeeded by his son, Magister Guiniforte, whose name is
sometimes misspelt Boniforte. He was "a man of clear mind, exquisite
sense and strong will; educated amidst grand ideas and grand things by
a wise and talented father; he became _Magister_ at twenty-two years
of age, and worked under his father." When he was thirty-seven, he
took Filarete's place, as chief architect of the Ospedale Maggiore at
Milan, a work almost perfect in its harmonious beauty, and yet showing
in every line its derivation from the civil edifices of the older
Lombards. He was also architect at the Certosa, and built, or rather
designed, the churches of S. Satiro and the Madonna delle Grazie and
the castle of Alliate. Calvi says that Guiniforte, "though following
the older school, knew how to lighten the serious northern style, by
giving it the smile of Italian skies."

When Guiniforte died in 1481, his son, Pietro Antonio, armed with a
letter of recommendation from the Princess Bona, presented himself at
the lodge, as a candidate for his father's position. The Freemason
Council, however, seemed determined not to bow to royal commands, and
again asserted its independence. Pietro was put off, and in 1489 he
departed to Russia.[271]

During the years from 1468 to 1492, the books of the lodge, preserved
in the archives, abound in names of _Magistri_ from the neighbourhood
of Como, both architects and sculptors.[272]

Among them are some famous names, such as Martino da Mantegazza,
Dolcebono Rodari (sculptor of the beautiful north door at Como), and
Gerolamo della Porta, who entered the lodge in May 1490, with a letter
of recommendation from the Duke, advising his being specially trained
in the art of sculpture. His talents warranting this, he was sent to
Rome with four other stone-sculptors, to remain ten years, and perfect
themselves in sculpture, to study the antique, and to return to the
_laborerium_ as fully qualified masters. There was also Bartolommeo da
Campione, who carved some of the richly ornate capitals of the
columns. I suspect he was the man who became famous in Venice.

The cathedral of Milan was now reaching completion. There only
remained the crucial question of the dome, and with this the Masters
now occupied themselves. Jacopo da Campione had made a model which the
Council of Administration preserved in their rooms, together with a
beautifully made wooden model begun by Giovannino de' Grassi, and
finished on his death by his son, Salomone. These were not adopted,
for on Giovanni Solari's death in 1471, we find the name of
_Bartolomeus de Gorgonzola, magister super Tiburium_. This was on
September 26, 1472. The same phrase is repeated in another entry on
November 25, 1471, where a payment is registered, made to Branda da
Castiglione, on account of the work he has to do at Gandolia, in
making certain columns to place above the _Tiburio_.

   _See page 368._]

The difficult work was suspended on the assassination of Duke Galeazzo
Maria, by reason of want of funds. On the restoration of Gian Galeazzo
in 1482, the subject was again under consideration, and in the
absence of any very eminent Masters at the moment--Guiniforte having
died in 1481--the Duke wrote to Strasburg to beg that some architects
might be spared from the works there. This action is very suggestive
of an affinity between the German and Italian Masonic Lodges. No one
could be spared from Strasburg, but a certain Giovanni da Gratz came
over with a little squadron of Germans, and signed a contract to
superintend the "reparation and completion" of the _Tiburio_ of the
Duomo. The conditions of the contract further stated that when the
cupola should be so far finished as to allow of inspection, a
committee of qualified Masters should be elected to inspect it, and
pronounce if the work were good.[273]

The words "reparation and completion" would imply that Guiniforte and
Bartolommeo had already begun the dome. The contract with John of
Gratz is signed May 1482, and it would appear not to have been of long
duration, no payments being made to him after February 1486, and on
January 26, 1488, the annals of the Duomo show the following
entry--"To Maestro Antonio da Padernò in recompense for his labours
during the past year in verifying the errors committed by Maestro
Giovanni da Gratz, etc...." Like his forerunner Heinrich da Gmunden,
John of Gratz had to retire from the Milanese Lodge; his name is no
more found in the books, and the Council began to search for a _capo
maestro_ nearer home. Magister Luca Paperio Fancelli was called from
Florence to examine some designs which had been sent in. The one
chosen was by Leonardo of Florence (Da Vinci), who was paid in
anticipation L.56, and a _Maestro in legname_ was assigned as his
assistant, named Bernardino da Abbiate. He probably was to superintend
the scaffolding, and Da Vinci the building. However, the engagement
fell through, and the Duke of Milan wrote to the Pope, the King of
Sicily, and the rulers of Venice and Florence to find an architect for
that puzzling cupola. Two Germans, one named Lorenzo, and one a monk,
John Mayer, were successively refused. At length, in 1490, the Council
finally commissioned Maestro Giovan Antonio Amadeo and Maestro Gio.
Giacomo Dolcebuono as joint architects "to finish the cupola and the
church." They were to choose the model which pleased them best of
those preserved in the Administration, and the one they selected was
to be examined for approval by Maestro Francesco di Giorgio, then
living at Siena, and by Maestro Luca of Florence (Fancelli), then
residing at Mantua, two experts who were by the Council elected as
judges and examiners of the perfection of the model.

A great meeting of the _Magistri_ of the lodge, and the patron of the
city, presided over by the Duke himself, met on June 27, to examine
the several models, but none were chosen; and Amadeo and Dolcebuono
were ordered to make a revised model, with the concurrence of
Francesco Giorgio. The two former were then confirmed as joint
architects, "to compose and ordinate"--as the Verbale quaintly puts
it--"all the parts needful to constitute the said _Tiburio_, which
must be beautiful, worthy, and eternal," if indeed earthly things can
be eternal.

Francesco di Giorgio departed laden with presents and payments, and
with the honorary title of architect of the Duomo of Milan; and on
September 9, the two others began their work, which they brought to a
happy conclusion on September 24, 1500.

The façade was, however, not completed. Indeed, the registers show
that the insignia of the Comacine Masters, the marble lions which were
destined for the great door, were in 1489 still in deposit in the

Dolcebuono died in 1506; and Andrea Fusina was elected in his place.
The famous sculptor, Cristoforo Gobbo, entered the works in 1502, on
the compact that he was not to be under the orders of other
architects, but to make his own contracts. He executed much of the
sculptural ornamentation of the cupola; such as the Doctors of the
Church in medallions; while a master Andrea da Corcano, with other
"brethren," did the pictures. Cristoforo also carved the famous
statues of Adam and Eve on the façade, besides several other statues.
He and Fusina being compatriots, fraternized, and opposed Amadeo, who
had made a too daring design for the lantern on the cupola. Meetings
after meetings were held, and at length Gobbo retired temporarily to
pursue his sculpture in Rome and Venice, where he is entered as
Cristoforo _da Milano_. His nephew, Michele da Merate, and Michele's
son Paolo, both sculptors, worked with him at Milan, where he
continued till his death, in 1527.

Another long list of names from the books, given between 1500 and 1550
by Merzario, proves that the Comacines still reigned supreme in the
_laborerium_, the Solari family preponderating.

As if to connect the last link in the chain with the first, we find
the old family of Bono da Campione still prominent. For nearly thirty
years, _i.e._ between 1618 and 1647, Magister Gian Giacomo Bono da
Campione sculptured in the _laborerium_ of the Duomo, and there his
son Francesco was trained, besides two kinsmen--Carlo Antonio Bono,
painter and sculptor, and his son, Giuseppe. All this family worked
together in the seventeenth century at the façade of the cathedral,
designed by Pellegrini. The fine central door was the work of Gian
Giacomo Bono and Andrea Castelli, both Comacines by birth.

As for the names of other Comacines who worked at the façade and on
the wondrous roof, one finds them by hundreds in the annals of the
Duomo, as collected by Giulini in his _Memorie della Città e Campagna
di Milano_. Here you see names repeated which have been familiar in
the guild for centuries; such as the Bono and Solari families, and
Luca Beltrami, who worked at the façade in the seventeenth century,
and whose ancestors were architects at Modena and Parma two hundred
years earlier.



   1. | 1396 | Magister Bernardo da Venezia | { C.M. for the actual building.
      |      |                              | {
   2. |  "   | M. Jacopo da Campione        | { C.M. at Milan to visit and
      |      |                              | { superintend.
                     These two were the first architects.
   3. |  "   | M. Giovanni da Grassi        | { Two of the Duke's architects
      |      | (Graci)                      | { from Milan, who were also
      |      |                              | { called into council on the
   4. |  "   | M. Marco da Carona           | { first plans.
      |      |                              |
   5. |  "   | M. Cristoforo da Lonigo      | Drew a design for the church
      |      |                              | of the convent.
      |      |                              |
   6. |  "   | M. Domenico Bossi da         | Assisted in laying the
      |      | Campione                     | foundations.
      |      |                              |
   7. |  "   | M. Giovanni da Campione      | Sculptured slabs for three
      |      | (called Bosio)               | reliquaries.
      |      |                              |
   8. | 1397 | M. Antonio di Marco          | Son of Marco Carona da
      |      |                              | Campione: C.M. of Milan;
      |      |                              | called from Crema to be
      |      |                              | C.M. instead of M. Bernardo.
      |      |                              |
      |      |                              | { Two brothers left in charge
      |      | M. Giovanni  }               | { when Antonio returned to
   9. |      | Solari       }               | { Crema. Giovanni was C.M.
      |      |              } of Campione   | { till 1400. Giovanni was the
  10. |      | M. Francesco }               | {  father of the celebrated
      |      | Solari       }               | { Guiniforte, C.M. of Milan.
      |      |                              | { The Lombardi of Venice were
      |      |                              | { descendants ofthis family.
      |      |                              |
  11. | 1428 | M. Rodari da Castello      } | Ancestor of Tommaso di
      |      |                            } | Rodari, who sculptured the
      |      |                            } | Renaissance door at Como.
  12. |  "   | M. Giovanni da Garvagnate  } |
      |      |                            } | All three were paid for
  13. |  "   | M. Giovanni da Como        } | sculptures in 1428 and 1429.
      |      |                              |
  14. | 1429 | M. Antonio  }              } |
      |      |             }  di Val di   } | Employed as builders.
  15. |      | M. Giovanni }  Lugano      } |
      |      |                              |
  16. |      | M. Jacopo Fusina             | Frequently mentioned in the
      |      |                              | books of the Fabbrica.
      |      |                              |
  17. | 1460 | M. Guiniforte Solari         | C.M. in place of his father
      |      |                              | Giovanni; designed the façade.
      |      |                              |
  18. |      | M. Gio. Antonio Amadeo       | Pupil of Guiniforte; carved the
      |      |                              | door between the church and
      |      |                              | cloister. He became famous
      |      |                              | afterwards in Venice, and
      |      |                              | sculptured the Colleone
      |      |                              | monument at Bergamo.
      |      |                              |
      |      |                              | { Came to the Certosa from
  19. |      | M. Cristoforo Mantegazza     | { their apprenticeship to
      |      |                              | { Jacopo da Tradate at Milan.
  20. |      | M. Antonio Mantegazza        | { Sculptured in the façade of
      |      |                              | { the Certosa on Guiniforte's
      |      |                              | { plans.
      |      |                              |
  21. | 1478 | M. Giovanni, junior, da    } |
      |      | Campione                   } | Assisted in the sculptures.
      |      |                            } |
  22. |      | M. Luchino di Cernuscolo   } |
      |      |                              |
  23. | 1495 | M. Cristoforo Solario        | C.M. at the Certosa. C.M. at
      |      | (Gobbo)                      | Milan in 1506.

Whatever were the faults of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the world has one
great and beautiful legacy to thank him for--the Certosa of Pavia.

It is said that Stefano Maconi, prior of the Certosa at Garignano,
suggested to the Duke the building of the finest monastery in Italy;
but the funds were certainly provided by Gian Galeazzo, who took a
personal and untiring interest in the work.

The first documental proof of this is a deed of gift, dated April 15,
1396, whereby Gian Galeazzo gives to the monastery of the Certosa,
landed property to the annual value of 2500 gold florins. On October 6
of the same year, he makes another endowment of property, yielding
5500 gold florins a year, besides an annual subsidy of 10,000 florins
from his own private purse.

The history of this beautiful building is much connected with that of
Milan cathedral; the same architects--or rather brethren of the same
Masonic Lodge--worked at both; and at one time Jacopo da Campione was
_capo maestro_ of both works at once, spending a certain proportion of
his time at both.

Heinrich of Gmunden has had a good deal of credit for this building;
so much so that a certain bust, said to be his likeness, was kept in
the sacristy of the Certosa; and on the strength of that bust, the
Germans erected a statue to him in Gmunden. But as he left Italy in
July 1392, dismissed from Milan after a few months there, it is not
probable that he could have designed the Certosa in 1396. Count
Giulini was the first to draw attention to this error; and a learned
archivist, Girolamo L. Calvi, had the good luck to discover in the
archives of S. Fedele, the ancient register of the Administration of
the building of the Certosa for the year 1396, which settles the
matter completely. The master builder was Bernardo da Venezia, and
Jacopo da Campione worked with him as designing architect and
superintendent. On the official verification of this precious MS. on
April 16, 1862, the bust of Heinrich da Gmunden disappeared from the
sacristy of the Certosa.

As a proof that the _Magistri_ mentioned were both employed, we will
translate a few of the entries of the _Provveditore_ of the Certosa.

"1396. _July 26._--In the presence of Pietro Barboti, official of the
Administration, Berto Cordono, cordmaker, was paid for 138 lbs. of
strong cord, for use in the designing and building of the church and
cloister. The cord was consigned in June, at the order of Maestro
Bernardo da Venezia, architect of the said _laborerium_" (Inzignerium
dicti laborerii).

"1396. _August 14._"--(This should, I think, be September 14). After
registering several payments of wages to workmen who excavated the
foundations, it is written--"Also the above-named Jacopo da Campione,
for his superintendence of the works (tantum qui perseveravit
superdictis laboreriis), together with the Duke's architects during
fourteen days (_i.e._ the last days of August and the first two of the
present September), at the rate of eight imperial soldi a day, as he
had to find his own food."

"1396.--The Magistri Jacopo da Campione, Giovannino de Grassi, and
Marco da Carona, architects, came from Milan to inspect, order, and
build in the aforenamed works" (causa videndi ordinandi et
hedificandi). The two latter must have been the Duke's architects
spoken of before. All through August and September Jacopo da Campione
was backwards and forwards between Milan and Pavia, and Maestro
Bernardo also received his salary monthly as chief architect.

Again, on November 22, 1396, we read--"To Master Jacopo da Campione,
architect of Milan cathedral (inzignerio ecclesiæ majoris Mediolani),
for fourteen days during October and November, in which he remained
working and superintending in the said _laborerium_ (Certosa) at his
own expense, and in payment for some designs made by him at Milan, and
submitted to the Duke's approval here."

On December 4, 1396, the _Provveditore_ notes the purchase of twenty
sheets of parchment, most of which were consigned to the Magistri
Jacopo da Campione and Cristoforo da Lonigo for the designs of the
church. From these entries, it would seem that Jacopo was the
architect who drew the designs, and Bernardo da Venezia the master
builder who executed them. As a farther proof, there is the
deliberation of the Administration of Milan, on March 4, 1397, to
which we have already referred, in which it says that Jacopo was in
command of the works at Certosa (qui acceptatus est super laboreria

Other Campionese names also appear in the registers; such as Domenico
Bossi da Campione, who was paid "for four marble slabs, with certain
inscriptions, which were placed under the foundations when the
Visconti laid the first stone on August 27, 1396;" and "Giovanni da
Campione, called Bosio, for three sculptured marble slabs for three

In 1397, Gian Galeazzo, being taken up with affairs of state, ceded
the presidency of the Administration of the Certosa Lodge to the Prior
of the Carthusians, adding more donations and an endowment. The
Prior's first actions were to dismiss Bernardo da Venezia as master
builder, and to call Antonio di Marco from Crema. He was son of Marco
da Campione, one of the chief architects of Milan cathedral, and
brother of Guglielmo di Marco, whom we have also found at Milan in
1387, where he was called as an expert to give judgment on some moot

When Antonio entered office, the monastery had twenty-four cells
already inhabited by as many monks, under their Abbot, Father
Bartolommeo of Ravenna. As soon as the contract was signed, it appears
that Antonio returned to Crema, leaving Giovanni Solari da Campione,
father of Guiniforte, and Francesco Solari, in charge. In the payments
made to Giovanni as chief architect, we find his name written in
different ways. In one, "_Magister Johanni de Campilioni Ingenerio
fabrice Monasterii LXVI_." In another, "_Magister Johanni di Solerio
Inzignero super laboreriis fabrice Monasterii die XIV Maij, pro suo
salario LXVI_;" sometimes he is merely written as "_Johanni

These payments go on for at least four years, during which time
Antonio di Marco seems to have had little to do with the building.
Sometimes Giovanni Solari even does the commercial business. In 1429,
the register notes 4 lire, 5 soldi paid to him for his expenses in
going to Milan and Pavia, on business connected with the building,
and in the same year he pays six Masters who come from Milan to
Certosa, when there was a competition for some sculptures in marble
for the monastery.[274] The sculptors working under him were mostly
his compatriots. Here are _Maestri_ Rodari da Castello, Giovanni da
Garvagnate, and Giovanni da Como paid for sculptural works in 1428 and
1429; also _Maestro_ Antonio and _Maestro_ Giovanni di Val di Lugano,
employed as builders (rattione edificiorum novorum).

There are also frequent mentions of Jacopo Fusina, and the two Solari,
who form such a link between Milan and Venice. The Solari were the
stock from which came the famous line of Lombardi, who may be almost
called the makers of Venice.

To this little group of architects we owe the exquisite cloister of
the Certosa, with its labyrinth of fairy white marble columns, and the
ruddy beauty of ornamentation on terra-cotta arches. Our illustration
shows the beauty of Campionese work at this era.

Giovanni Solari of Campione, who is said in this work to have
inaugurated the beautiful terra-cotta architecture of Lombardy,
appears to have held office as chief architect up to nearly 1460, when
his son Guiniforte succeeded him. Under Guiniforte, Gio. Antonio
Amadeo, or Omodeo, entered his novitiate. When, in 1466, he reached
the age of nineteen, he was already engaged at the Certosa as a
sculptor. A deed drawn up by the notary Gabbi, on October 10, 1469,
shows that the Administration lent him certain blocks of marble, for
which he was to pay their equivalent in work; the payment he made was
the beautiful door leading from the church into the cloister, still
known as "the door of Amadeo." It is exquisitely decorated in
Bramantesque style; reliefs of angels and foliage surround the door;
and in the tympanum is a fine relief of the Virgin and Child. He, too,
became famous in Venice, as did the two brothers Cristoforo and
Antonio Mantegazza, who had just been trained under Jacopo da Tradate
at Milan. Indeed, the network of this marvellous company of
sculptor-builders is at this epoch interwoven in a most complicated
manner between Milan, Certosa, Como, Monza, and Venice.

The façade of the Certosa forms precisely the same discord with the
body of the building that the façade of Milan does, but here the
Renaissance face is so rich and gorgeous that one almost forgives the
discord. It has been attributed to Bramante of Urbino, whose name
never appears in the books; to Bernardo of Venice, who died long
before it was begun; and to Borgognone the painter, who was only
invited to the Certosa by the Prior in 1490, when the façade was well

Sig. Merzario, with his documental evidence,[275] proves that
Guiniforte di Solario certainly designed it, and for the most part
superintended its execution. On January 14, 1473, the notary Gabbi
registered a contract between the Prior of the Certosa and the
Administration of the Milan Lodge, for the furnishing of 200 cwts. of
white marble of Gandoglia, annually, for ten years, to serve for the
façade of the Certosa church. On October 7, 1473, the same notary
makes the contract, by which the brothers Cristoforo and Antonio
Mantegazza are commissioned to erect all the façade, according to the
plans given them by the monastery.[276]

   _See pages 378, 379._]

This contract very much offended Gio. Antonio Amadeo, who had gone to
Bergamo to make a monument for the Colleoni family, and he appealed to
the Colleoni, and also to the Duke of Milan, to enforce his claims on
the work, which were so far recognized that he was engaged to do half
the work, at a price to be estimated, receiving a _podere_ (vineyard)
in part payment.

Another act of notary, dated October 12, 1478, records the ceremony of
valuing several works of sculpture, by Amadeo and the brothers
Mantegazza, by two Masters of the guild, Giovanni, junior, da
Campione, and Luchino of Cernuscolo, which took place in the presence
of the Prior and the chief architect, Guiniforte Solari;--a proof that
Solari was still the _capo maestro_. He died early in January 1481,
and on the 13th of the same month, Duke Gian Galeazzo Sforza wrote to
the "Dominis Priori et monacis Carthusie Papiensis," to recommend his
son, "Pietro Antonio (suo figliuolo peritissimo de la medesima arte et
de divino ingenio"), as a worthy successor to his father as chief
architect. Antonio Mantegazza succeeded him, but he, too, died in
1495, and Cristoforo Solario, named Gobbo, who had worked with him,
became architect in his turn. His election was on October 11, 1495, by
the recommendation of Ludovico il Moro. Gobbo, however, did not long
remain in office, for in 1497 we find him employed at the Duomo of
Milan, and the sepulchre of Beatrice d'Este, at the church of the
Grazie there. In 1506 he became head architect at Milan.

In 1499, a letter from B. Calco, dated May 1, declares that the works
at the Certosa are nearly finished (sarà presto presso el fine).[277]

The church had already been opened for service since May 1497, when
the Cardinal di S. Croce came in state to consecrate it, and a grand
refection was offered him. The documents cited by Sig. Merzario are
certainly conclusive as to the epoch and authorship of both the
convent and the church.

We must not leave the Lombard Lodge without a mention of one of its
principal Masters, Matteo da Campione, who was architect for the
fourteenth-century restoration of the cathedral at Monza, which his
forerunners of the guild had built for Queen Theodolinda. He is spoken
of in the registers at Milan, when he attended a general meeting of
the guild there on January 6, 1390, as Matteo da Campione "inzignero
in Monza," and again on July 10, 1390, when, on the death of Marco da
Campione, it was deliberated in council to send for Maestro Matteo
from Monza, and see whether he would take Marco's place in the works.
He was, like almost all the Comacines, a sculptor as well as
architect. The baptismal font at Monza, which was once noted for its
beauty, is now ruined and mutilated. The pulpit and the sculptures on
the façade of Monza cathedral are attributed to Matteo's own hand. The
pulpit is a fine piece of sculpture in white marble. It was originally
square, but has been altered in form during the last century. Fourteen
figures, the twelve apostles with St. Paul and Barnabas, are
sculptured around it, and there are many small reliefs. It has a
prominent part in the front, called by the Italians the _pulpitino_,
or little pulpit. On this are sculptured the Redeemer with a book, and
a thunderbolt in His hands, and the four Evangelists. The façade is a
curious instance of the transition of Comacine art, between the
Romanesque and the Gothic. The door is very much like those of Verona
and other Comacine churches of the same era. Matteo has put his lions
in front of the pillars of the porch, instead of beneath them. The
mixture of style shows more in the windows. The four lower windows are
distinctly Gothic, with pointed arches, three lights, and Gothic
tracery; the upper ones are round-arched Lombard two-light windows,
the archlets of which are a little cusped. The lines of the façade are
quite Lombard, the internal divisions being marked on the front by
pilasters running the whole height. The Lombard gallery is indicated
like a memory of past time by a row of archlets beneath the eaves, but
they rest on nothing, and are of no practical use as their prototypes
were. Probably, as the interior was not rebuilt, Matteo da Campione so
far respected the work of his older brethren, as to adapt his façade
to the rest of the building. Over the portico is a fine rose window,
and above that a row of saints in niches; the space between them is
filled with geometrical sculpture. He has used the ancient sculpture
of "Agilulf and Theodolinda" in the lunette of the doorway. Its style
is much earlier than the figures above. Matteo was buried in the
church, and on his tomb is the inscription--"Hic jacet magnus ille
ædificator devotus magister Mattheus de Campiliono, qui hujus
sacrosanctæ Ecclesiæ fatiem ædificavit evangelistarium ac battisterium
qui obiit anno Domini MCCCLXXXXVI die XXIV mensio maii." It is said
that he has sculptured his own likeness in the rigid and thoughtful
figure of the saint near the turret, over the rose window.

   _See page 380 et seq._]

Another work which we have seen commenced by earlier Comacines was the
cathedral of Como. That too was restored and redecorated by Comacines
about this time. The old church had been ruined in the wars between
Como and Milan, and in 1335, Azzo Visconti, building his fortresses at
Como, ran his walls close round the church, cutting it off from the
town. In 1386, however, the Bishop of Como persuaded Gian Galeazzo to
transpose his fort and open the church again to the people. In
gratitude for this, the people proposed to restore their church, and
Gian Galeazzo promised his aid. The work was begun in 1396 and went on
till 1513. Authors disagree as to whether the church were renovated,
_i.e._ restored, or rebuilt. Whichever it was, there is no doubt that
the whole façade was executed in the fifteenth century. The north door
is of rich ornate Renaissance style, and much later than that on the
façade, although the lions are still under the columns. The façade
follows in its lines the old Lombard form, but the dividing pilasters
here are lavishly enriched. They are in fact but a perpendicular line
of niches with a statue in each. The three doorways are round-arched,
the windows above them slightly pointed. Over the central door is a
Gothic vestibule with saints in its canopied arches.

The first architect of the restoration is indicated in the register of
the Milan Lodge, where on April 30, 1396, Magister Lorenzo degli Spazi
de Laino in Val d'Intelvi is allowed to leave the works at Milan to be
chief architect at Como, "deliberarunt quod licentietur Magister
Laurentius de Spatiis ad eundum Cumas pro laborerio Ecclesie majoris
civitatis Cumarum ad requisitionem comunis et hominum dicte civitatis
Cumarum." He had not long entered on office when Gian Galeazzo died,
and Como was again involved in a fight for freedom with Malatesta and
the Visconti. In 1416 the Como people had to swear allegiance to
Milan, and then Duke Filippo Maria Visconti allowed the works to go
on. On February 19, 1439, Pietro da Bregia near Como was elected
master architect, and he continued Lorenzo de Spazi's work. He changed
the plan so as to bring the façade in a line with the Broletta and
tower of the fortress, which altogether made an imposing mass of
buildings; very interesting as displaying at once the Comacine work in
civil, military, and ecclesiastical architecture. The Broletta is a
particularly good specimen of their civil architecture, of about A.D.
1000, though it loses in proportion owing to the filling up of the
lower level on which it was built, so that the bases of the columns
are completely buried.

   _See page 382._]


[265] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, chap. xii. I have taken the
facts for this chapter from Merzario's collection of documents, not
being able to get at the archives of Milan.

[266] Magister Marcus de Frixono Inzignerius Fabricæ, decessit die
supra scripto (10 Julii 1390) circa horam Ave Marie in mane et Corpus
ejus sepultum fuit honorifice in Ecc. S. Teglæ ipsi die post prandium.

[267] Is this by chance a French rendering of Giovanni da Campione?

[268] _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. xii. p. 342.

[269] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. xviii. p. 512.

[270] Giulini, _Memorie della città e Campagna di Milano_, lib. lxxxv.
(anno 1452), p. 497.

[271] Merzario, _Op. cit._ Vol. I. chap. xviii. p. 521.

[272] See Merzario, _Op. cit._ Vol. I. chap. xviii. pp. 522, 523.

[273] Merzario, Vol. I. chap. xviii. p. 526.

[274] _Pro solvendis magistris sex qui venerunt a Mediolano ad
Monasterium occasione incantandi opus marmoris pro fabrica._

[275] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. xvii. pp. 494-499.

[276] Promiserunt et dederunt ad faciendum fabricandum et laborandum
... totam fazatam dicte Ecclesie ac portam, cum fenestris et aliis
laboreriis necessariis pro ipsa fazata ... juxta modum et
designationem ipsis fratribus dandum et dandem per dictum
Monasterium.--Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. I. chap. xvii. p.
508, note 51.

[277] Archivio di Stato in Milano.--_Reg. Miss._ N. 210, vol. clviii.




   1. |  1407  | Mistro Lorenzo da Vielino   | _Gastaldo_ or Grand Master.
      |        |                             |
   2. |  1423  | M. Scipione Buono           | Built the Loggia near the
      |        |                             | Rialto.
      |        |                             |
   3. |  1430  | M. Zambono (Giovanni Buono) | Architect of Ca d'Oro, and
      |        |                             | sculptor of capitals in the
      |        |                             | Ducal Palace.
      |        |                             |
   4. |        | M. Bartolommeo Buono        | { His sons who worked with
      |        |                             | { him in the Ducal Palace up
   5. |        | M. Pantaleone    "          | { to 1463.
      |        |                             |
   6. |  1441  | M. Elia da Bissone          | Sculptured the door to the
      |        |                             | Fraternità dei Calzolai.
      |        |                             |
   7. |  1442  | M. Cristoforo da Milano     | Built the tower at Udine.
      |        |                             |
   8. |  1448  | M. Giorgio da Como          |
      |        |                             |
   9. |  1449  | M. Lorenzo q. Martino da  } |
      |        | Lugano                    } |
      |        |                           } | All Lombard Masters who
  10. |        | M. Giovanni da Marco      } | received pay in the Venetian
      |        |                           } | Lodge for work in the Ducal
  11. |        | M. Anicino }              } | Palace.
      |        |            } Lombardi     } |
  12. |        | M. Luchino }              } |
      |        |                             |
  13. |  1482  | M. Antonio da Modena      } |
      |        |                           } |
  14. |        | M. Andrea d'Acre          } | The Council of Administration
      |        |                           } | when the Masonic Lodge was
  15. |        | M. Antonio Negro          } | built at S. Samuele.
      |        |                           } |
  16. |        | M. Bonazza                } |
      |        |                             |
      |        |                             | { Father of the famous Pietro
  17. | 1476 } | M. Martino Solari da Carona | { Lombardi, _Proto_ (chief
      |  to  } |                             | { architect). He designed the
      | 1488 } |                             | { Scuolo di S. Marco.
      |        |                             |
  18. |  1488  | M. Moro Lombardo            | Son and assistant of Martino
      |        |                             | Solari. _Proto_ of S.
      |        |                             | Zaccaria in 1488. Bernardino
      |        |                             | and Francesco (No. 20 and No.
      |        |                             | 21) were his son and
      |        |                             | grandson.
      |        |                             |
      | 1484 } |                             | { _Proto_ of the lodge from
  19. |  to  } | M. Antonio Riccio           | { 1484 to 1491. He carved the
      | 1491 } |                             | { Adam and Eve.
      |        |                             |
  20. |        | M. Bernardino da Bissone    | Son of No. 18. He assisted
      |        |                             | Riccio in the sculptures of
      |        |                             | the Cortile.
      |        |                             |
  21. |        | M. Francesco, his son       |
      |        |                             |
  22. |        | M. Domenico Solari          |
      |        |                             |
  23. |        | M. Paolo Bregno           } |
      |        |                           } | Sculptor-architects related
  24. |        | M. Lorenzo Bregno, his    } | to Antonio Riccio or Rizo.
      |        | son                       } |
      |        |                             |
  25. |        | M. Bartolommeo Gonella      | _Proto_ till 1505. He came
      |        |                             | from Milan.
      |        |                             |
  26. |  1505  | M. Bartolommeo Buono        | Succeeded him. He built the
      |        | (descendant of No. 4)       | upper part of the Procuratie
      |        |                             | Vecchie, and the church of
      |        |                             | San Rocco.
      |        |                             |
  27. |  1509  | M. Manfred de Polo          | Grand Master.
      |        |                             |
  28. |  1516  | M. Pietro Lombardo, son of  | Founder of the Venetian branch
      |        | Martino Solari              | of the Lombardi. He designed
      |        |                             | the Scuola di San Rocco.
      |        |                             |
  29. |  1517  | M. Giulio Lombardo  }       |
      |        |                     } his   | Worked under their father,
  30. |   "    | M. Tullio Lombardo  } sons  | and all became famous.
      |        |                     }       |
  31. |   "    | M. Antonio Lombardo }       |
      |        |                             |
  32. |   "    | M. Giovanni Fontana         | A descendant of M. Fontana da
      |        |                             | Campione. He was master of
      |        |                             | Palladio, and built the Palace
      |        |                             | of the Commune at Udine. His
      |        |                             | family became famous at Rome
      |        |                             | and Naples.
      |        |                             |
  33. |  1524  | M. Sante di Giulio          | Built Scuola di San Rocco.
      |        |                             |
  34. |        | Mistro Matteo Fontana di    | Architect of Belluno
      |        | Melide                      | cathedral.
      |        |                             |
  35. |  1529  | M. Jacopo Sansovino         | _Proto_ for the Procuratie
      |        |                             | Vecchie; he came from the
      |        |                             | Florentine Lodge.
      |        |                             |
  36. |   "    | M. Guglielmo da Alzano      | Carved some fine altars,
      |        |                             | and built the Tasca and
      |        |                             | Camerlinghi palaces.
      |        |                             |
  37. |   "    | M. Gregorio }               | Two brothers descended from
      |        |             } da Carona     | Marco da Carona of Milan.
  38. |   "    | M. Giorgio  }               | They also worked at Udine.
      |        |                             |
  39. |   "    | M. Simeone di Petro di Como | Was paid for sculpture done
      |        |                             | in this year.
      |        |                             |
  40. |  1530  | M. Donato Busata   }        | Master architects, sons of
      |        |                    }        | Ser Piero da Campione.
  41. |        | M. Giovanni Busata }        |
      |        |                             |
  42. |  1527  | Jacopo Sansovino            | Called from the Florentine
      |   to   |                             | Lodge to be _Proto_ of the
      |  1534  |                             | Venetian one.
      |        |                             |
  43. |  1548  | Gian Antonio Solari, of     | Finished the church of S.
      |        | Carona                      | Giorgio.

The connection of the Comacines of Longobardic times with Venice,
through the powerful Lombard Dukes of Friuli, and the Patriarchs of
Aquileja, their metropolitan bishops, has already been touched upon;
and we have mentioned the Patriarch Fortunatus for whom the Masonic
Guild built the churches of Grado and Torcello. The Comacines had, in
the eighth century, also built the Baptistery of Calixtus at Cividale,
and had sculptured the altar of Duke Pemmo in Friuli; in the twelfth
century they rebuilt the Duomo of Cividale for the Patriarch
Pellegrino.... This connection was still further strengthened, when in
1311 the Visconti conquered and exiled from Milan the Torriani family,
their rivals in the Signory there, who retired to Friuli, where they
soon acquired supreme power. Two of the family, Raimondo and Pagano
della Torre, had previously been successively Patriarchs of Aquileja,
and in 1317, Gastone, the exiled Archbishop of Milan, succeeded
Pagano. A second Pagano and a Ludovico Torriani followed him. The
Torriani were from Valsassina near Como, and would consequently have
had more interest in the Comacine Guild than any other, if other there
were; in fact the tombs of the Torriani at Primaluna and at
Chiaravalle show unmistakable signs of Comacine work. At Sacile in the
Friuli district the ancient church with three naves, built in 1400,
can show documents proving its architects to have been Beltramo and
Antonio, both of Como, and who form a link with the Roman Lodge. The
church of Gemona, on the mountains near Tagliamento, was built by
Giovanni Bono, another familiar Comacine name. The choir is in
transition style, _i.e._ semi-Gothic. The two aisles are divided from
the nave by a grand colonnade. The façade is of the style of Siena and
Orvieto, with cusped arches under triangular gables; it has a large
finely-traceried rose window in the centre, and a profusion of
statues. At Venzone, also near Tagliamento, is an ancient Lombard
church with characteristic sculptures, built in 1200. Here is a holy
water vase of a later period, of extremely fine and finished
sculpture, signed Bernardino da Bissone, 1500. Bernardino also
sculptured another holy water vase in the Duomo of Tolmezzo, and the
beautiful door of the church of Tricesimo. All these works prove the
close connection of our guild with the Patriarchs, who ruled over
Venice as well as Friuli.

Even in 1468, when the Duomo of Cividale was restored by Pietro
Lombardo, several of his brethren worked with him.

In 1420, the Venetians, led by Roberto Morosini, took Friuli and
annexed it to Venice. By the treaty of Lodi in 1454 they added
Bergamo, Brescia, and Crema. Many Lombards flocked to Venice at that
time, and the Masonic Guild had its schools and _laborerium_ there.
From that date the Masters of the guild were known in Venice as
"Mistri (Masters) Lombardi." Merzario dates from this epoch the
renewed connection of the Comacine Guild with Venice, but it must have
begun much earlier than that, if it had not continued unbroken from
Lombard times. A lodge must certainly have existed in Venice from the
time when the first Maestro Buono (Vasari's Buono) went there in 1150.
It is unlucky for history that the original Freemasons, being a secret
society, kept no archives. It is only after the twelfth century, when
other art guilds were formed on the same system, but without the
secrecy, that we get an insight into what had been, all the ages
through, the management of the guild. At Siena, as we have seen, the
painters seceded in the thirteenth century from the universal
brotherhood, and founded their academy of painters, the sculptors
following their lead. They, not being bound to secrecy, let the world
know their statutes and their customs.

The same thing took place in Venice. On September 15, 1307, the
sculptors appealed to the Signory of Venice for permission to form
statutes and hold chapters under the denomination of the _Arte de
tajapiere_ (stone-cutters). They were not at liberty to form a Masonic
or building guild, because the original one had then the monopoly.
Sig. Agostino Sagredo,[278] in his valuable work on the building
guilds in Venice, says--"While we are speaking of the Masonic
Companies and their jealous secrecy, we must not forget the most grand
and potent guild of the Middle Ages--that of the Freemasons.
Originating most probably from the builders of Como (_Magistri
Comacini_) it spread beyond the Alps; Popes gave them their
benediction, monarchs protected them, and the most powerful thought it
an honour to be inscribed in their ranks. They, with the utmost
jealousy, practised all the arts connected with building, and by
severe laws and penalties (perhaps also with bloodshed) prohibited
others from the practice of building important edifices. Long and hard
were the initiations to aspirants, mysterious were the meetings and
the teaching, and to ennoble themselves they dated their origin from
Solomon's Temple." This monopoly would account for none of the
Communes having a civic guild of architecture; and their secrecy
explains the want of documentary evidence in the earlier centuries,
while the monopoly was undisputed.

The new local branches of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were
evidently absolved from secrecy; they started fresh as independent
companies, and thus freed, art was able to expand more largely. With
this light on its formation, it is interesting to find in the Venetian
Guild of sculptors, organized in 1307, the self-same rules and
government as in Siena, and all the other cities. We find the school
and _laborerium_ and the usual Administrative Council of four
_Soprastanti_ elected on the first Sunday of every month, the outgoing
officials having to instruct the new ones. In Venice the Grand Master
of the Lodge was called, as in the ancient Lombard Lodges, _Gastaldo_;
the chief architect of a work was designated in more classic language,

On the third Sunday of the month every Master of the _arte_ was
obliged to pay a gold _soldo_ to the company, which money was only to
be spent for the use of the school.

Again a marked similarity. At the beginning of November the feast of
the _Quattro Coronati_ was kept,[279] and no one was to work on that
day under pain of a fine of 100 soldi. There is the usual rule about
every Master bringing a wax candle when he attends a meeting, and on
the day of the Patron Saints the candle must weigh four ounces. The
fines for those who absent themselves from the _fête_ of the Patron
Saints are the same as at Siena, and so also are the rules about
matriculation of members, the making of contracts, the introduction of
foreign Masters, etc.

The first name of a _Gastaldo_ or Grand Master in the Venetian Lodge
is a Mistro Lorenzo de Vielino in 1407, who makes a law that no Master
shall have more than three _fanti scritti_ (apprentices?) besides his
own sons or brothers. Sagredo says that the Masters in all these
_arti_ were a privileged aristocracy, whose sons were allowed to enter
the guild without the usual novitiate.

In 1509 Mistro Manfred de Polo was Grand Master, and decreed a kind of
census. Every Master was obliged within eight days to hand in a list
of his relatives in the guild and the apprentices in his studio.

   BUONI (ZAMBONO) 1430 A.D.
   _See page 389._]

The head-quarters of the lodge were in the little street known as the
Piscina di S. Samuele. The _Opera_ was a large building, not much
decorated, but there was a fine relief by one of the Lombard Masters
over the door. This was removed, and preserved by the Government
when the building, no longer needful for its former use, was sold. The
altar of the _Quattro Coronati_, sacred to the guild, was in the
church of S. Samuele close by. Here too were the tombs of the brethren
of the lodge. Unfortunately none of the funereal inscriptions remain.
Cicognara has, however, preserved two inscriptions on the building of
the lodge, which are valuable as additional proof of the guild. One
beneath the relief on the façade runs--

     E SCRIVAN MA' DOLZE (Dolce).

Here we get the names of the four members of the ruling council in
1482, all _Magistri_, and that of the notary of the guild, Maestro
Dolce.[280] Another inscription on the staircase, which was rebuilt in
1686, announces that the stairs were built by the gifts of the
brethren under the Gastaldo Maestro Domenico Mazzoni, and then follow
the names of his three companions in office, one of whom is Vincenzo
Minella, and that of the notary.

If we now trace some works in Venice we shall see how intimately
connected this lodge was with that of Milan and other branches of the
guild. In 1430 we find Zambono engaged to decorate the Ca d'Oro or
Palazzo Contarini on the Grand Canal. In his aim at magnificence good
Giovanni Bono of Como not only made the work a masterpiece of Gothic
ornamentation, but he gilded his sculpture till it was refulgent. It
appears that this Zambono, who could not spell his own name, was not
such a master of the pen as he was of the chisel, for his son
Bartolommeo signed the contract for him on April 20, 1430. The gilding
was done by Giovanni da Francia, whose son Francesco signed for him.

Bartolommeo Bono worked much with his father, and later his younger
brother Pantaleone joined them, and became more famous than either of
them. To these three we owe in a great measure the reconstruction and
decoration of the Ducal Palace, which in the first place had been
built by Justinian and Narses. At the end of the tenth century, the
Doge Pietro Orseolo restored Justinian's building. To this restoration
belong probably some of the fine mediæval capitals of the columns of
the Loggia, of which we have given an illustration on page 253. It has
been said that Marino Faliero, when Doge, engaged his friend and
fellow-conspirator Filippo Calendario to make a plan for a new palace,
but no proofs of this, nor any designs are to be found.

Authentic documents, however, prove that a meeting of the Grand
Consiglio was held on September 27, 1422, in which it was proposed to
"rebuild the palace in a decorous and convenient form." On April 20,
1424, the decree went forth that the old walls were to be thrown down,
and the façade rebuilt. The first Masters mentioned in the books are
the three Buoni. A minute, dated September 6, 1463, registers that the
Salt Office should pay "Maistro Pantalon," sculptor, for the work done
for the Ducal Palace--that this work included many other works besides
the figures; and that it should not remain incomplete, the Doge wished
it to extend across the piazza and up to the last built
Sala[281]--_i.e._ the Sala del Squittinio. This would include all the
façade and its colonnades, with the internal Sala del Squittinio and
Scala Foscara leading to it, on which is placed the statue of
Francesco della Rovere.[282] The part of Bartolommeo, brother of
Pantaleone, was the Porta della Carta, of which we speak in the
chapter on decoration. Their father Giovanni (Zambono) must have died
about the time the palace was finished, which was May 13, 1442, for on
November 25, 1443, Bartolommeo writes himself in a notarial act as
"Ego Bartolommeus lapiscida q. ser Johannis Boni."

   _See page 390._]

Part of the palace was burned not many lustres after, and in 1484,
Antonio Rizo or Riccio was nominated _Proto_ for its rebuilding. He
came to Venice with good recommendations. He was the son of a deceased
Magister Giovanni Rizo, as we see in a deed of June 25, 1484, where he
is nominated as "Ser Antonius Rizo lapiscida q. ser Joannis de
contrata sancti Joannis Novi," and had been in the East, where he
built the fortifications of Scutari, for Antonio Loredan. His
fortifications resisted the attack of the Turks so well that they had
to raise the siege, and Antonio, who was wounded, was rewarded by a
pension for himself and children, and by the appointment of chief
architect for the Ducal Palace, when it was restored after the fire.
It would seem that the façade built by the Buono trio had not been
injured, as Rizo turned his attention to the inner court, which he
built in a beautiful style, together with the great staircase, now
known as the "Scala dei Giganti," from Sansovino's two giants, which
were added--not much to the grace of the stairway--in 1566.

Bernardino da Bissone, and Domenico Solari of Val d'Intelvi, both Como
Masters, assisted in the sculpture of the beautiful balustrade. Riccio
has the characteristic Comacine mixture of round arches in the
foundation, and pointed ones above. He added a third colonnade, in
which the round arches again appear. It is all enriched by exquisite
sculptural decoration; the frieze of Nereids and sea-horses on the
third order is very fine.

Selvatico attributes also to Riccio much of the side of the palace
towards the prisons. The two statues of Adam and Eve facing the
Giant's Stairs are signed in the plinths, one "Antonio," the other
"Rizo." They are fine works of sculpture, which have been wrongly
attributed, in spite of the signature, to various persons, such as
Antonio Bregno, and Andrea Riccio of Padua. A proof of Rizo's
lengthened tenure of the office of _Proto_ is given in a document in
the Venetian archives quoted by Cadorin. The document, dated October
10, 1491, is an order from the Magistrates of the Salt Office, who
were at the head of the Administration of the works of the Ducal
Palace, "to increase the salary of Rizo Antonio, _Proto_ of the
building works, from one hundred and fifty ducats to two hundred, as
the former salary was not enough to support his family in his old age,
and also having regard to his long and valuable services and fatigues,
and the necessity of retaining him, for the prosperity and the beauty
of the said building."[283]

Another document, quoted by Merzario from the Diary of Marin Sanuto,
seems to throw a cloud over the close of Antonio's head membership. It
seems that 10,000 ducats were missing from the accounts of the works,
and that Antonio, being unable to explain it, sold all his
possessions, and shouldering his belongings went towards Ancona and
Foligno. This entry is dated April 5, 1498.[284]

   _See pages 391, 392._]

It is difficult to say who is the Antonio Bregno that is accredited
with Rizo's works. There was a Lorenzo Bregno, a sculptor to whom
Sansovino attributes the statue of the General Dionisio Naldo of
Brisighella (died 1510), which is placed above the door of San
Giovanni e Paolo. There was also Paolo Bregno, father of Lorenzo,
but the name of Antonio never appears in the books of the
Administration, nor in any archives as far as Sig. Merzario can judge
after a diligent search. As the Bregni were related to Rizo, it seems
probable that this is another misleading case of nicknames, and that
the chief architect's family name was Bregno; so that Antonio Rizo was
only Antonio Bregno, the "curly-headed"--from _riccio_, a curl.[285]

After Riccio, a Magister Bartolommeo Gonella, who died in 1505,
succeeded as _Proto_, and then Magister Buono succeeded him. Buono was
probably a grandson of the last Bartolommeo, son of "Zambono." This
man, who signs himself "Bartolomeus de Cumis lapizida," had been a
sea-captain, and sailed in the fleet of Melchiorre Trevisan. On his
return in 1498 he resumed his hereditary profession, and in 1505 was
nominated head of the building works of St. Mark's, which were now
occupying the guild. The upper order of the "Vecchie Procuratie" was
built under his supervision. The church of San Rocco, built in 1495,
was, however, his first great work in Venice, and the next was the
restoration and heightening of the tower which another of the Buono
family had built in 1150, more than three centuries earlier.

When in 1516 the erection of the "Scuola di San Rocco" was proposed,
Bartolommeo Buono, the head architect of the "Vecchie Procuratie," was
unanimously elected. However, when he had drawn his design, and the
edifice began to rise, a certain knowing brother of the confraternity
(_un tal saccente confratello d'essa_) censured the plan of the
stairs, and the work was suspended. Maestro Buono would not
relinquish his design, and retired; on which Pietro Lombardo was
elected in his place to continue the building. Here we have again a
distinct proof of the Masonic organization, and see that in Venice
they held their meetings to consider the work of their brethren, just
as they had done in Milan, Siena, Florence, etc.

In 1529 Maestro Buono died, and Jacopo Sansovino was nominated _Proto_
of the Procuratie in his stead. One of Buono's principal assistants
was Guglielmo da Alzano, near Bergamo.[286] He sculptured a beautiful
altar in the Servite church on the commission of Madonna Verde della
Scala. It is now removed to the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo. The
great altar in the church of S. Salvadore is also attributed to him.
He was a famous builder as well as sculptor, and was architect of the
Camerlinghi Palace, at the foot of the Rialto in Venice. The beautiful
Tasca palace at Portogruaro, of which the richly-sculptured doorway
was brought to Venice, was his design, as well as the fine gate at
Padua called the "Portello," and the "Porta di S. Tomaso" in Treviso.

Several other more familiar Comacine names are found in Venice, such
as Gregorio and Giorgio of Carona, whom we have seen sculpturing at
Udine;[287] Bernardino di Martino of Bissone, and Andrea from Milan.
Francesco, son of Bernardo of Como, Simeone of Pietro, sculptor from
Como, with Donato and Giovanni Busata, sons of Ser Piero da Campione,
are all mentioned in the Transactions of the Guild in Venice about
this time. A contract is reported in the _Archivio Veneto_ (vol. xxxi.
anno 1886, fasc. lxii. p. 169), signed on July 26, 1476, "between the
Fraternity of S. Maria in S. Daniele and Maestro Giorgio, sculptor of
Como, who, having made several statues for S. Giacomo in Udine, is
herewith commissioned to make three figures in stone for the door of
S. Maria in S. Daniele, _i.e._ a Madonna and Child and two angels, the
statues to be figures, that may by any good _Magister_ be judged
worthy and beautiful."

Then comes a name which has become synonymous with the beauty of
Venice--the Lombardi family--to whom are attributed all the principal
late Gothic and Renaissance buildings that enrich the city. As usual,
the name by which the family has come down to posterity in the
histories of art is nothing but a misleading nickname. The Venetians
called them the Lombards. Just as Vannucchi is called Perugino, and
Allegri is called Correggio, so the Solari family were known as
Lombardi. They were among the aristocrats of the guild, however, whose
ancestors had been eminent men for more than a century. We have seen
Marco Solari, and his son Antonio, and also his grandsons Cristoforo
and Guiniforte, at work at Milan, where Marco, Guiniforte, and Pietro
Antonio were successively chief architects. The Lombardi-Solari of
Venice appear to have been another branch of the family, equally
descended from Giovanni da Carona, through his son Martino, the father
of Pietro Lombardi (Peter of the Lombards).[288]

Martino was the architect of the Scuola di San Marco, near SS.
Giovanni e Paolo. His name appears before that time as "Mistro Martino
tajapiera," when he was, in 1476, sent to Istria to _sbozzare_ the
marbles for the sculptures on S. Zaccaria, of which he was architect,
though his ancestor Antonio di Marco had begun it in 1458. At the
Scuola di San Marco, his son Moro, brother of Pietro, assisted him,
and on Martino's death Moro became _Proto_ of the works at San
Zaccaria, his son Bernardino and grandson Francesco assisting him. The
books of the Administration of that building have notes of payment, in
1488, one "to Bernardo, sculptor, son of Moro our _Proto_," and
another executed on July 20, 1488, where it is written, "And I
Francesco di Bernardo, sculptor from Como." Other papers prove the
sons of Pietro Lombardo as being Giulio, Antonio, and Tullio. In
Tullio's sons two old family names are revived--Marco Antonio and

To this family may be attributed a large part of the finest fifteenth
or sixteenth century buildings of Venice. Pietro's elder brother Moro
built the church of S. Michele at Murano between 1478 and 1481; and at
the same time designed and directed the building of the Vendramin or
Loredan and the Corner Palaces. Moro had been before employed by the
Loredan family to build a part of the church of S. Maria in Isola at
their expense. No doubt he was assisted by his numerous relations in
the guild.

To Pietro Lombardo belongs the design for the fine exterior of the
Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista. In 1475 he sculptured the
beautiful monument to the Doge Pietro Mocenigo, a grand design with
seventeen life-sized figures carved in Istrian marble. His sons Tullio
and Antonio assisted in this. In 1481 he restored the Scuola della
Misericordia, and finished the ornamental gate of the Scuola dei
Battuti. In the same year he won in a competition for designs for the
church of S. Maria de' Miracoli, and became head architect of that
masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. Here he has curiously revived
some features of the old Lombard architecture of his ancestors in art.
He has made a raised tribune with a dome, but it is square instead of
semi-circular, and he has placed two ambones or pulpits, as in the
early churches. Pietro could build in Gothic style as well as
Renaissance, as is shown in the cusped and pinnacled façade of S.
Cristofero della Pace at Murano. The original Torre dell' Orologio on
Piazza S. Marco was also designed by him.

On March 14, 1499, he was nominated _Proto maestro_ of the Ducal
Palace in place of Antonio Rizo. Seguso and Selvatico attribute to
him, with his sons and nephews, the rich and beautifully sculptured
capitals of the pillars which support the lower arches "from the Court
of the Senators to the second part of the building"; and the internal
façade of the side towards St. Mark's, which Selvatico pronounces one
of the finest examples of Lombard style. In the interior of the palace
he restored the "Camera del Tormento," and built the hall of the
Council of Ten, the prisons over the Granaries, and the attic prisons
known as "I Piombi."

As a sculptor he was of remarkable genius. Two signed statues in the
church of San Stefano, one of which represents S. Antonio, are of
extreme beauty, as is the magnificent high relief of the Virgin and
Child in the outer arcade towards the bridge. The monument to Cardinal
Zeno in S. Marco is a beautiful specimen of Lombard ornamentation. It
is rich with carven angels and saints, wreaths of flowers, and all
possible wealth of sculpture.

In about 1490 Pietro was engaged on a great work of architecture at
Treviso, where the bishop had commissioned him to improve the
cathedral by putting a new and ornate façade with a large window,
besides building three new chapels.[289] His sculpturesque tastes
outweighed his talent for architecture. He left the building at
Treviso in the hands of inferior Masters, and went to Venice to
sculpture in the _laborerium_ of the guild at San Samuele, the statues
and reliefs for its façade. The work not proceeding satisfactorily it
was suspended, and on Pietro Lombardo's death even his design was lost
in some mysterious manner. The church was not ultimately restored till
two centuries later.

He had also the commission to restore the older church of S. Maria
Maggiore at Treviso, and there, too, having made his design, he left
his son Tullio to execute it. Either for want of means, or
disagreements among the Masters, this also remained incomplete.
Probably Pietro had too many interests in Venice, where in 1514 he was
elected _Gastaldo_ or Grand Master of the lodge; in which office he
continued till his death in 1521, a date proved by his son Tullio
taking out papers of administration in that year. We have no
particular mention of any great buildings by Pietro's eldest son
Giulio, but he was greatly respected in the guild, for on June 3,
1524, the Chapter of S. Roch, while deliberating that "Mistro Bon,"
_i.e._ Master Bartolommeo Bono, a famous architect, should be
discharged from the office of chief architect (_Proto_) of the Scuola,
because he is _disobedient and not diligent enough_ (we perceive that
even a _Proto_ had some superior officers or council above him),
elected as _Proto_ in his stead a young Magister Sante, son of Giulio
Lombardo, but with the proviso that his father Giulio should be his
adviser in everything.

Antonio, Pietro's second son, won a certain rank as sculptor, but he
is better known in Padua and Ferrara. He removed to the latter city in
1505 with his family, and died there in 1515.

The third son, Tullio, however, was a bright star in the line. His
sculpture was so delicate, and he attained such tenderness in the
flesh of his marble statues, that it is thought he had studied under
Donatello when he was in Padua in 1450. His decorative sculpture may
be judged by the chimney-pieces in the chamber of Udienza, with its
antechamber, in the Grand Ducal Palace; by the doors of the Scuola di
S. Marco, and the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, all done about 1500.
The beauty and grace of his figures may be seen in the four kneeling
angels which support the altar of the Incoronation of the Virgin in S.
Giovanni Crisostomo; a most exquisite group. This work is signed,
"Opus Tullii Lombardi." The fine monument to the Doge Nicolò Marcello,
at SS. Giovanni e Paolo, and those of Marco and Amerigo Barbarigo, in
S. Maria della Carità, are also by him.

There is some confusion between the two cousins, Sante, eldest son of
Giulio, and Sante, the second son of Tullio. Sante di Giulio was chief
architect of the Scuola di San Rocco, from June 1524 to March 1527,
and all the finest part of the building is attributed to him. He built
the church of S. Giorgio for the Greek colony. This was finished in
1548 by Gian Antonio Lombardo da Cione (Carona), who was son of Pietro
Antonio Solari of Carona, so that in this church the Milanese and
Venetian branches of the Solari family meet, but the Milan branch has
kept the old name, while in Venice it has been merged in the place
name, and they are known as the Lombards. The Palazzo Trevisan, which
belonged to the family of Bianco Capello, was said to be from the
design of Sante.

We have followed up the Venetian architects sufficiently to prove that
they, too, had their links with the great Comacine or Lombard Guild.
Sansovino, who succeeded the Lombard Solari family in Venice, was a
Master trained in the Florentine Lodge, so even he was not extraneous
to the guild.


[278] _Sulle Consorterie delle Arti Edificative in Venezia_, capo ii.
p. 14.

[279] "I quattro martiri patroni de la dita arte cioè San Nicostrato,
San Claudio, San Castorio e S. Superian."--Sagredo, _Sulle Consorterie
è, etc._

[280] Agostino Sagredo, _Sulle Consorterie delle Arti Edificative in
Venezia_, capo ix. pp. 84, 85.

[281] Gualandi, _Memorie Originali Italiane risguardanti le Belle
Arti_, Parte vi. p. 108. Bologna, 1485.

[282] Merzario, _Op. cit._ Vol. II. chap. xxii. p. 16.

[283] _Notizie storiche intorno al Palazzo Ducale di Venezia_, p. 1,
by Gius. Cadorin. Venezia, 1838.

[284] Merzario, _Op. cit._ Vol. II. cap. xxii. p. 23.

[285] Monsignor Paolo Giovio wrote a poem on Antonio.

     "Un Riccio nel contado all 'età nostra
     Nacque di Como, che fu buon scultore
     E l'opre di costui Venezia mostra:
     Fece un Adamo, ch'è di tanto valore
     Che di bellezza cogli antichi giostra," etc.

[286] To show how difficult it is to trace names through the queer old
documents, we may mention that this sculptor is sometimes written in
the archives as "Guglielmo Bergamasco"--probably he entered the lodge
at Bergamo--and sometimes "Vielmo Vielmi di Alzano."

[287] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. II. chap. xxiii. p. 47.

[288] The parentage of Pietro is clearly proved by documents in the
Venetian archives. One is a deed dated Sept. 19, 1492, drawn up by the
notary Gerolamo Bossis. It confirms the will of Magister Petrus
Lombardus quondam Martini lapiciola. Another, dated Sept. 8, 1479,
drawn up by the notary Bartolommeo de Vegiis, begins--"Io piero
lombardo fiolo di ser martino de charona, tajapiera in Venesa in la
chontrada de samoele in casa del duse testimonio e scrive de mano
propria." Here Pietro tells us not only his father's name Martin, but
his birthplace Carona, a village near Arogno and Campione--the place
his relative Marco da Carona came from. In fact here we have the
Campionese school still surviving and sending forth fine artists.

[289] Marchese Ricci, _Dell' Architettura in Italia_, Vol. II. chap.
xix. p. 605.




    1.   |  A.D. 88  | Magister Mutius          | Pliny's architect.
         |           |                          |
    2.   |  7th or   | M. Sisinius              | Architect represented in
         |    8th    |                          | the ancient frescoes of
         |  century  |                          | the subterranean church of
         |           |                          | St. Clement, as directing
         |           |                          | the building of it.
         |           |                          |
    3.   |           | { M. Alberto           } |
         |           | {                      } |
    4.   |           | { M. Cosma             } | His assistants in the
         |           | {                      } | work.
    5.   |           | { M. Carboncelle       } |
         |           | {                      } |
  6 & 7. |           | {   "Sons of PVTE."    } |
         |           |                          |
    8.   |   about   | M. Paschalis, named RITA | Sculptured the marble
         |   11th    |                          | candlestick and inlaid
         |  century  |                          | pulpit of S. Maria in
         |           |                          | Cosmedin.
         |           |                          |
    9.   |   1148    | M. Paulus                | A sculptor in marble.
         |           |                          |
   10.   |           | M. Johannes            } |
         |           |                        } |
   11.   |           | M. Petrus              } | His four sons who carved
         |           |                        } | the ciborium in S. Lorenzo
   12.   |           | M. Anges (Angelo)      } | fuori le mura in 1148.
         |           |                        } |
   13.   |           | M. Sassone             } |
         |           |                          |
   14.   |   12th    | M. Niccolò, son of       | Sculptured the curious
         |  century  | Angelo di Paulus         | mediæval candelabrum in
         |           |                          | San Paolo fuori le mura.
         |           |                          |
         |           |                          | { Two brothers from the
   15.   |   1196    | M. Ubert                 | { lodge at Piacenza, who
         |           |                          | { cast the bronze doors of
   16.   |           | M. Petrus                | { the sacristy of S. John
         |           |                          | { Lateran.
         |           |                          |
   17.   |   1190?   | M. Lorenzo (ancestor of  | Sculptured the façade of S.
         |           | the Cosmati)             | Maria in Falleri, and the
         |           |                          | pulpit at Ara Cœli in
         |           |                          | Rome.
         |           |                          |
   18.   |  1205-10  | M. Jacopo, his son       | Sculptured at Civita
         |           |                          | Castellana, San Saba, Rome,
         |           |                          | and at Subiaco.
         |           |                          |
   19.   |  1210-77  | M. Cosimo, son of Jacopo | Worked at Anagni. His four
         |           |                          | sons made the name of
         |           |                          | Cosimo famous, and were
         |           |                          | known as the Cosmati.
         |           |                          |
   20.   |  1231-35  | M. Luca, eldest son of   | Died young.
         |           | Cosimo                   |
         |           |                          |
   21.   |  1231-95  | M. Jacopo, second son    | C.M. of Orvieto in 1293.
         |           |                          |
   22.   |   1294    | M. Adeodatus, or         | Made the ciborium in S.
         |           | Deodatus, third son.     | Maria in Cosmedin; the
         |           |                          | cloister of S. John
         |           |                          | Lateran, etc.
         |           |                          |
   23.   | 1290-1303 | M. Giovanni, fourth son  | Made several famous
         |           |                          | monuments in Rome.
         |           |                          |
   24.   |           | M. Arnolfo, cum socio  } | Made the tabernacle of S.
         |           |                        } | Paolo fuori le mura.
   25.   |           | M. Petro               } |
         |           |                          |
   26.   |   1224    | M. Rainaldo              | Canon of Anagni, and member
         |           |                          | of the Masonic Guild.
         |           |                          |
   27.   |   13th    | M. Bassaletti (written   | His name is on the column
         |  century  | Vassalecti or Basalecti) | of S. John Lateran, and on
         |           |                          | a marble lion in the porch
         |           |                          | of the S. Apostoli in Rome.
         |           |                          |
   28.   |   1447    | M. Beltramo da Varese    | C.M. of the Roman Lodge
         |           |                          | in 1447: he designed
         |           |                          | the restorations of the
         |           |                          | Campidoglio, and built the
         |           |                          | Palace of the Conservators.
         |           |                          |
   29.   |     "     | Magister Pietro da       | Assisted his uncle. He
         |           | Varese (nephew)          | also worked at Orvieto in
         |           |                          | 1450.
         |           |                          |
   30.   |     "     | M. Paolo da Campagnano   | Worked with his
         |           | (near Varese)            | fellow-countrymen in
         |           |                          | 1452-3. Restored the roof
         |           |                          | at S. Pietro, 1460.
         |           |                          |
   31.   |   1455    | M. Antonio di Giovanni   | { Joint architects of the
         |           |                          | { Pontifical Palace in
   32.   |           | M. Paolino da Binasco    | { the reign of Pope
         |           |                          | { Calixtus III.
         |           |                          |
   33.   |     "     | M. Bartolommeo of Como   | Directed the works of
         |           |                          | fortification at Castel S.
         |           |                          | Angelo.
         |           |                          |
   34.   |     "     | M. Stefano da Bissone of | Sculptured in S. Spirito.
         |           | Como                     |
         |           |                          |
   35.   |   1460    | M. Manfred of Como     } | Joint C.M. of the Vatican
         |           |                        } | from 1460 to 1463.
   36.   |     "     | M. Domenico of Lugano  } |
         |           |                          |
   37.   |     "     | M. Angelo of Como      } | Adorned some of the rooms
         |           |                        } | of the Vatican.
   38.   |     "     | M. Martino Lombardo    } |
         |           |                          |
   39.   |   1466    | M. Giacomo di Cristoforo | A famous builder and
         |           |                          | sculptor, C.M. of the
         |           |                          | _laborerium_ at Rome. He
         |           |                          | designed Palazzo Venezia.
         |           |                          |
   40.   |     "     | M. Andrea of Arzo        | Sculptor working under
         |           |                          | Giacomo. He carved some
         |           |                          | inlaid doors at the
         |           |                          | Vatican.
         |           |                          |
   41.   |  1466-70  | M. Giacomo di Giovanni } |
         |           | da Como                } |
         |           |                        } |
   42.   |           | M. Alberto di Giovanni } |
         |           | da Como (his brother)  } |
         |           |                        } |
   43.   |           | M. Nicola di Guglielmo } |
         |           | da Varese              } |
         |           |                        } |
   44.   |           | M. Pietro di           } |
         |           | Cristoforo da Bregnano } | All these were Lombard
         |           |                        } | _Magistri_ receiving pay
   45.   |           | M. Simone di Giovanni  } | in the Roman Lodge between
         |           | da Binego              } | 1460 and 1470.
         |           |                        } |
   46.   |           | M. Giovanni di Antonio } |
         |           | da Bellinzona          } |
         |           |                        } |
   47.   |           | M. Michele Lombardo    } |
         |           |                        } |
   48.   |           | M. Benedetto Lombardo  } |
         |           |                        } |
   49.   |           | M. Domenico di Martino } |
         |           | Lombardo (son of       } |
         |           | No. 38)                } |
         |           |                          |
         |           |                          | { Two members of the
   50.   |   1475    | M. Baccio Pontelli       | { Florentine Lodge who were
         |           |                          | { employed as architects at
   51.   |     "     | M. Giuliano da Majano    | { the Vatican under
         |           |                          | { Manfred.
         |           |                          |
         |           |                          | { Florentine brothers,
   52.   |     "     | M. Giovanni di Dolci     | { architects at the
         |           |                          | { Vatican, the Sistine
   53.   |     "     | M. Marco di Dolci        | { Chapel, and the fort of
         |           |                          | { Civitavecchia.
         |           |                          |
   54.   |  1484-92  | M. Antonio di San Gallo  | A Lombard, naturalized
         |           |                          | Florentine. He built the
         |           |                          | Borgia apartment.


    1.   |   1470    | Magister Pietro di       | C.M. and designer of the
         |           | Martino Lombardo (from   | triumphal arch at Castel
         |           | Milan).                  | Nuovo.
         |           |                          |
    2.   |           | M. Isaja da Pisa       } |
         |           |                        } |
    3.   |           | M. Antonio da Pisa     } |
         |           |                        } |
    4.   |           | M. Domenico di         } | Sculptors and architects
         |           | Montemignano           } | employed by Pietro di
         |           |                        } | Martino in the work of the
    5.   |           | M. Francesco Arzara    } | arch.
         |           |                        } |
    6.   |           | M. Paolo Romano        } |
         |           |                        } |
    7.   |           | M. Domenico Lombardo   } |
         |           | di Sumalvito           } |
         |           |                          |
    8.   |   1484    | M. Tomaso da Como        | Sculptured monuments in
         |           |                          | Monte Oliveto.
         |           |                          |
    9.   |   1509    | M. Giovanni di Tomaso    | Built the crypt of S.
         |           | (his son)                | Gennaro at Naples.

Mention has been made, in the second chapter, of the early Christian
Basilicas erected under Constantine, and the forty-six churches of the
same era, which Genseric destroyed, and how the three Basilicas which
were then saved--_i.e._ S. Agnese, San Lorenzo, and S. Maria in
Cosmedin--have, during subsequent restoration, revealed, in the parts
of the original buildings discovered, a style precisely analogous to
the Basilicas which sprang up in the north of Italy in the time of the
Lombards. The only difference between the fourth-century Roman
churches and the seventh-century Lombard ones is not in form or style,
but merely a deterioration in workmanship. This may easily be
accounted for by the two or three centuries of decadence between the
destruction of Rome by Genseric and his successors, in about A.D. 460,
when it is supposed the remnants of the _Collegio_ of architects fled
to Como, and their revival under the Longobardic kings. During those
centuries, no great buildings, or even restoration of edifices, took
place. The Eternal City seemed, even when free of invaders, to be
perishing in the clutches of time. Charlemagne led the way by
rebuilding one or two ancient temples and palaces, and he established
several schools, one of which was for Lombards--a proof that he was
interested in those architects, and that they still had a seat in
Rome, where the church of their four Patron Saints had stood, from the
far-off time of Pope Melchiades--A.D. 311.

Pope Adrian I. followed the example of his imperial ally, by restoring
several churches, to do which he had to ask Charlemagne for the
builders of the guild under his protection; a proof that no _Collegio_
existed in Rome at that time. Among these churches, one of the most
interesting was that of S. Agnese fuori le Mura, a beautiful
round-arched Basilica, built by Constantine in 324. As it now stands,
it is so far below the level of the ground that there is a long
descent of forty-five wide marble steps, to reach the vestibule of
the church. The Basilica itself is extremely interesting, as it
remains in its original eighth-century form, as Pope Adrian I.
restored it in 775. The plan is a pure and simple Comacine Basilica,
with its nave and two aisles, circular tribune and an upper gallery,
with the _cochleus_ or spiral staircase leading to it all complete.

The columns of the nave seem to have been taken from an ancient Roman
building. The capitals are all classical except the four nearest the
tribune, which are quite Comacine, with their simple upright volutes.
But the building space being limited, the extremely tall columns had
to be placed in such close juxtaposition, that the round arches
between them are diminished out of all harmonic proportion. The
triforium gallery, having shorter columns, gives a more pleasing

The spiral staircase leading to this is cut in the thickness of a
pilaster. The mosaics in the tribune are the original ones of Pope
Honorius' time, and of Byzantine style; the decorative paintings over
the whole church are mere modern frescoes.

But that the sculpturesque decorations were done by the Comacines, and
not by the Greek mosaicists, is suggested by several remains of the
ancient decorations of the church, which are preserved on the walls of
the stairway descending to it. Here is a _pluteus_, or stone panel,
probably from the front of the ancient tribune, and it is a beautiful
_intreccio_ precisely like the ones at S. Clemente. Two other panels
of the same parapet are of Roman design. One might imagine that the
Lombard architect copied them from the inner roof of the Arch of
Titus. Probably the guild, being of Roman origin, kept all these
classical decorative designs in its _laborerium_.

Now and then, in the ages following Adrian, we find a large-minded
Pope, who gave his thoughts to restoring the beauties of Rome: such as
Leo III. (796), Leo IV. (845), Innocent III. (1178), Nicholas III.
(1277), and Boniface VIII. (1294). This latter was the Pope who
consecrated the Duomo of Florence.

   (_From a photograph by Alinari._)   _See page 405._]

The great Lombard Masonic Guild being under the especial protection of
the Popes, we should expect to see its members employed in the
mediæval buildings of Rome. And truly, after Adrian's time, here they
are. Hope, Schmarzow, Ricci, and Boito, besides other writers, have
all decided that the ancient cloisters of San Lorenzo--built under
Honorius III. in the beginning of the thirteenth century--as well as
the primitive churches of St. Peter, S. John Lateran, and S. Lorenzo,
were all early Comacine work; and that the exquisite cloister of S.
John Lateran, and the churches of S. Paolo fuori le Mura, Ara Cœli,
San Giovanni e Paolo, S. Maria sopra Minerva, etc., are all equally
Lombard churches of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Several
friezes and inscriptions go to prove the truth of this, besides those
eloquent lions that crouch beneath the columns in the cloister of S.
John Lateran and other places.

As this is not an architectural dissertation, but merely a tracing of
the work of this great guild, I will keep more to the inscriptions
relative to _Magistri_, than to a description of their works, which
has been done by so many writers.

In the old times before the painters and sculptors, and after them the
metal-workers, split off and formed companies of their own, every kind
of decoration was practised by the Masters. A church was not complete
unless it were adorned in its whole height and breadth with either
sculpture, mosaic, or paintings, and this from the very early times of
Constantine and his Byzantine mosaicists, and of Queen Theodolinda and
her fresco-painters, up to the revival of mosaics by the Cosmati, and
the fresco-painting in the Tuscan schools. But never were those arts
entirely lost.

The ideas which the Lombard architects brought up from Sicily, when
working there under the Normans, were the seeds of re-vivification,
and caused a tremendous evolution in the art of the guild. They saw
the decorative value of mosaic as it was used in the twisted Saracenic
columns, and they were charmed by the rich use of sculpture in the
graceful arches. From that time, every lodge throughout the land
seemed to invent a new style peculiar to itself.

The Romans, with their traditions of classic mosaics, revived the art
in Saracenic style as a means of decoration. The Tuscans, with their
wealth of coloured marbles, enlarged chromatic decoration into
chromatic architecture, and their airy towers and arched churches were
all more or less polychrome. The Lombards, having no marbles at hand,
took from these same Saracens their rich traceries and cuspings, which
they produced in the plastic clay, throwing a veil of ruddy beauty
over the façades and arches of their buildings.

The name of the Cosmati family has become generic for the peculiar
chromatic sculpture of Rome in the twelfth century; the family were
complete masters of the art. But though they may have taken the idea
of its revival as a decorative aid to sculpture, it was by no means
their invention, or even their monopoly. If you look at a Cosmati
pillar or panel, and then at the floor of any Roman church, you will
see that Cosmatesque decoration is but an adaptation of the old Roman
_opus Alexandrinum_. And we have plenty of proof of the fact that
other _Magistri_ of the guild also practised it. The ambone in S.
Cesareo in Palatio at Rome, of which we give an illustration, is
earlier than any of Cosimo's family.

  [Illustration: BASILICA OF S. PAOLO _fuori le mura_, ROME.
   _See page 405._]

There exists at Florence (in S. Leonardo) the ancient pulpit from S.
Piero Scheraggio, and which was said to have been brought there from
Fiesole. Its date is supposed to be before 1000 A.D. Though of a ruder
style, we have the Cosmatesque inlaying of glass and marble, as a
setting to sculptures distinctly Comacine, and of almost Longobardic
antiquity. In Sta. Maria in Cosmedin are two fine pulpits, on one of
which is a beautiful candlestick formed of a twisted column, inlaid in
the same style. The Comacine lion crouches beneath it, and on the base
is the inscription in Gothic letters, telling us that the worthy and
learned man Paschalis (called Rita), with great study made this
candlestick.[290] Then we have Nicolao di Rannuncio, whose name is
inscribed on the door of inlaid marble in the church of S. Maria at
Toscanella,[291] and a whole family whose names are inscribed on the
ciborium of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura:[292] where it is written--"John,
Peter, Angelo, and Sasso, sons of Paul the sculptor, Magisters of this
Opera. I, the humble Abbot Hugh, had this work executed"[293] (Johs,
Petrus, Angĕs, et. Sasso. Filii. Pauli. Marmōr. Huj'. Opis.
Magister Fuer. Ann d. M. CXLVIII. Ego. Hugo. Humilis. Abbs. Hoc. Opus.
Fieri Feci.). The tabernacle is of the usual four-pillared form; the
columns are ancient porphyry ones adapted; the capitals the usual
Comacine mixture of classic and mediæval--acanthus leaves and
cornucopiæ with the mystic beasts climbing among them.

Angelo, the third son of Magister Paulus, had a son named Niccolò, and
the two together made the candelabrum of S. Paolo; a quaint mediæval
piece of sculpture, of the style of Magister Roberto's font, but with
some marvellously beautiful interlaced work. There is also Arnolfo
with his partner Peter (Arnolfus cum suo socio Petro), who made the
inlaid and sculptured tabernacle in S. Paolo fuori le Mura in 1285.

Merzario says that we must not confuse this Arnolfo with the
Florentine architect. Camille Boito, however, opines that he is the
same. Arnolfo had certainly a taste for the polychrome in
architecture, which may or may not have been imbibed in Rome, while
working at that lodge with Peter--whom Cavalcaselle considers was one
of the Cosmati, and who certainly did the ciborium at S. Paolo, though
Arnolfo's name is absent in that work. I have found some other members
of the Roman Lodge inscribed above a bronze door in S. John Lateran.
On the archivolt is written--"Hui opis Ubert et Petr: [^Fr]s.
 Māgistri Lausenen. Fece[[^ru]nt." Over another
bronze door in the sacristy they are written as--"Ubert Magister, et
Petrus. Ei: Fr. Placentini Fecerunt Hoc. op.," and the date A.D. 1196.
Boito[294] sees nothing in this but a perplexing contradiction, that
in one place the brothers say they are from Lausanne, and in another
from Piacenza. It is to me plain enough. They are natives of Lausanne,
and consequently Lombards: they are also brethren of the lodge of
Piacenza, where they had most likely worked while the cathedral and
other buildings were being erected.

The date of the Baptistery door, and the connection of its maker with
the guild, are verified by the inscription on the other panel of the
bronze door, which says it was done in the fifth year of the
pontificate of Pope Celestine III. (_i.e._ 1196), and that Father
Giovanni, Cardinal of S. Lucia, the _Jubente_, or _camerarius_ of the
_Opera_, had it made.[295]

This door had engraved on it the design of the ancient façade of S.
John Lateran--a perfectly Lombard front consisting of two round-arched
arcades, with a little pillared gallery above.

   (_From a photograph by Alinari._)   _See page 406._]

The door of the Sacristy must have been cast before that of the
Baptistery, as in the first work Uberto is entitled _Magister_, and
Petrus only named as his brother, whereas in the second the younger
brother must have also graduated, and has in his turn attained to the
dignity of _Magister_.

We trace the same gradual progress through the ranks of the Guild in
the Cosmati family, whose connection with the Roman lodge we must now
trace. Several generations of them were _Magistri_--

                         Jacopo (some works, 1205-1210)
                         Cosimo, 1210-1277
        |            |             |            |
       Luca        Jacopo      Adeodatus    Giovanni
     1231-1235    1231-1293      1294       1296-1303

To Lorenzo belong the façades of Santa Maria in Falleri, and the Duomo
in Civita Castellana, besides the pulpit in Ara Cœli at Rome. In
all these works his son Jacopo worked with him.

Jacopo alone, with the title of _Magister_, sculptured the smaller
doors in the façade of the Duomo at Civita Castellana, and the door of
San Saba at Rome in 1205; also the inlaid columns at S. Alessio in
Rome, and the Cloister of Santa Scolastica at Subiaco. In Civita
Castellana, above the magnificent portal, is inscribed "Laurentius cum
Jacobo Filio suo, Magistri doctissimi Romani H(oc) opus fecerunt."
This proves my assertion that they had graduated in the Roman Lodge,
and if further proof is required, this portal bears the universal mark
of the Comacine Masters at this era--its columns rest on lions.

Similar inscriptions are on the ambone of Ara Cœli, and the doorway
at Falleri. The inscription on the door of San Saba, dated 1205,
is--"Ad honorem domini nostri I͞HU [^XP]I Anno VII. Pontificatus
domini Innocentii III. PP Hoc opus domino Johanne, Abbate
Jubente[296] factum est per manus magistri Jacobi." Up to this time we
have no proof that the family was of Roman origin; they are merely
given as members of the Roman Lodge, which we have seen was of Lombard
origin. They were afterwards made Roman citizens.

After these works we find Cosmato, the son of Jacopo, old enough to
assist him. That same frontal of the Duomo at Civita Castellana has on
the cornice over the portico these words inlaid in letters of
gold--"Magister Jacobus civis Romanus cum Cosma filio suo, Fieri fecit
hoc opus A. D͠NI. MCCX." Cosmato's name is also inscribed as
assisting his father in the door of the church of San Tommaso in
Formis at Rome. Next, in 1224, we find young Cosmato a full-fledged
_Magister_, working at the cathedral of Anagni, which was in those
days an important city, and the residence and birthplace of several
Popes. The whole pavement there is a beautiful work of inlaid marbles,
and bears an inscription saying that the Venerable Lord Bishop Albert
had the pavement made; Magister Rainaldo, Canon of Anagni to Pope
Honorius III., and the honourable sub-deacon and chaplain assisting in
the expense, which was a hundred gold _oboli_; Magister Cosmato
executing the work.[297] Magister Rainaldo, the Canon, must have been
one of the ecclesiastic members of the guild, and showed so much
respect for the privilege that he preferred the title of _Magister_ to
the grander one of _Venerabilis_, to which his office of Canon would
have given him right.

After this time, Cosmato is always written as Magister; his name
appears on the altar of the crypt of S. Magnus in the cathedral of
Anagni, which was also a commission of Bishop Alberto in 1230. Next,
we perceive that Cosmato has married and has a goodly family of sons,
who, according to ancient custom, are all educated in the guild.

Luca and Jacobo, the two eldest, helped him in the mosaic pavement of
the crypt at Anagni, and in the cloister of Santa Scolastica at
Subiaco. This is a most beautiful work in transition style. The
columns are alternately single and double, the single ones with a wide
projecting abacus. Some are slight and straight, others spiral and
beautifully inlaid between the sculptured ribs. The arches resting on
these fanciful columns are on two sides round, but on the other sides
are slightly pointed. Above the arches is a sculptured cornice and a
frieze of mosaic. It is altogether very beautiful.

In 1277 Cosmato was employed by Pope Nicholas III. to restore the
chapel "Sancta Sanctorum" in the Basilica of S. John Lateran, the
altar of which was reserved for the Popes alone. Luca appears to have
died young, but Jacopo at eighty years of age was a master builder at
the cathedral of Orvieto, where in 1293 he is written in the books as
"Maestro de' Muratori Jacopo di Cosma Romano."

The third son, Adeodatus, or Deodatus, rose high in the guild. In the
pavement of S. Jacopo alla Lungara, before it was destroyed, the
following epigraph was inlaid, which was copied by Crescimbeni--"Deodatus
filius Cosmati, et Jacobus fecerunt hoc opus." In a later work, the
ciborium once in S. John Lateran, now in the cloister, we find that
Deodatus has risen to the rank of _Magister_. It was a commission from
the Colonna family, whose arms are sculptured on it. The ciborium in
S. Maria in Cosmedin, ordered by Cardinal Gaetani, nephew of Pope
Boniface VII., must have been earlier than this, for he has merely
signed "Deodat. me fec."

Cosmato's fourth son, Giovanni, first appears in an independent work
in 1296, when, on the elegant sepulchre of Bishop Durante, he
signs--"Jo͞hs filius Magri Cosmati fec̄ hoc op." Similar epigraphs
are on the tomb of Cardinal Gonsalvo in S. Maria Maggiore, and a
monument to Stefano de' Surdi in Santa Balbina.

In all these works of the Cosmati, Camille Boito finds signs of
Lombard principles, and traces in the development of style from father
to son the same gradual movement from older forms towards the Gothic,
which we notice between Jacopo Tedesco and Arnolfo, and between
Niccolò Pisano and his son Giovanni. Living in Rome, however, the
Cosmati never really took up the Gothic style, as it developed further
north; but always kept nearer to classical forms, and so prepared Rome
for the Renaissance style, which arose from the humanist movement in
the Cinque-cento epoch.

The next great patron of the Lombard Guild in Rome was Pope Nicholas
V. (Thomas of Sarzana), of whom Gregorovius said--"This man had only
two passions--collecting books and building." His dominating idea was
the directing of a new Renaissance. According to him, "Rome ought to
become the imperishable monument of the Church, or rather the Papacy,
and re-arise in admirable magnificence before the eyes of all
people."[298] Nicholas V. had the first idea of the rebuilding of St.
Peter's, and the Vatican, but one man's life was not long enough for
such great works. He, however, restored the Campidoglio, Castel S.
Angelo, San Todaro, S. Stefano Rotondo, the palace of S. Maria
Maggiore, the fountain of Trevi, the walls of Rome, and several of the
State fortresses.

   _See page 407._]

He got some of his architects, such as Leon Battista Alberti and
Rossellino, from the Florentine Lodge, but by far the greater part of
them were Lombards. The chief of these was Master Beltramo da Varese,
of whom we have heard much in the Lombard Lodges. With him were his
nephew Maestro Pietro di Giovanni, Maestro Paolo da Campagnano (a
village near Varese), and Maestro Giacomo di Cristoforo. Rossellino
had begun the works at St. Peter's in a kind of reverse fashion,
starting with the apse. The continuation of this tribune was confided
to Maestro Beltramo, who set to work in good earnest. He made vast
lime and brick furnaces, filled the _laborerium_ with wood, ropes,
ladders, etc., engaged sub-architects and _Magistri_ with bands of
workmen under them, most of whom came down from the Como region. In
fact, there was an army of Lombards.[299] The registers of the
_Opera_, now in the Vatican, mark large payments to Magistro Beltramo
and his nephew Pietro di Giovanni, who became chief architect after
his uncle's death.

Besides the Tribune of St. Peter's, the two relatives were employed to
rebuild the Campidoglio. Muntz publishes some notes taken from the
registers of the Apostolic Camera, recording payments made between
1447 and 1448 to Maestro Beltramo, and some of his associates
(_socii_), for the roof and marble windows of the Campidoglio and the
palace of the Conservators. In 1452 Pietro da Varese is found
continuing the work alone. The documents recently published from the
registers of the Vatican have these entries--

"1452. _December 31._--To Maestro Pietro da Varese, nephew of Maestro
Beltramo, 1000 gold ducats for part of the Tower he is building behind
the Campidoglio, at the side where they sell salt by retail. T. S.
1452, fol. 216, cf. fol. 194."

"1453. _March 9._--D. 112, b. 56, d. c., for remainder and completion
of the contract of the Tower he (Pietro) has made at the Campidoglio,
which in full amounts to 1212 ducats, of which he received last year
at different times, 1000 (and 100) ... and thus it is registered by
Janni di Jordani (Notary V. fl. 126. 10. 93)."[300]

We find Pietro in 1450 sculpturing in the cathedral at Orvieto, where
in a public act he is described as a good and clever sculptor
("lapidum sculptor bonus et doctus"), and prayed to remain at Orvieto
in the service of the lodge there.

Muntz speaks very highly in praise of the Lombard sculptor, Giacomo di
Cristoforo[301] da Pietrasanta, saying that although his name is
little known to biographers, he holds a high place in Roman art of the
fifteenth century, and merits to be ranked among the most celebrated
artists of his time. Many of the buildings which Vasari ascribes to
Giuliano da Majano and Baccio Pontelli are in reality due to him; for
instance, the Palazzo Venezia, which was rebuilt under Pope Paul II.
(Pietro Barbo, who succeeded to the papal throne in 1464). Now
Giuliano da Majano only came to Rome towards the end of the reign of
Pope Sixtus IV., and could not therefore have been employed by Paul
II. In fact, Muntz, after many researches, concludes that the chief
architect was Maestro Giacomo da Pietrasanta, who is in the registers
of 1467 qualified by the title of _Soprastante_ in the _laborerium_ of
the church and palace of S. Marco at Rome, and in 1468 is written as
the president of the building of the Palazzo Apostolico or
Vatican.[302] In fact, Giacomo da Pietrasanta, the Lombard, was Grand
Master of the whole Roman Lodge during these years.

But Maestro Giacomo was not the only Comacine employed in the Palazzo
Venezia. A contract dated June 16, 1466, names Magister Manfred of
Como and Andrea of Arzo, whom we have seen in Venice, as _magistros
architectos_,[303] and the registers reveal a whole army of master
builders and sculptors whose names will be found in the list appended.
Muntz quotes no less than twenty-five, many of whom have been familiar
to us at Milan, Siena, and Florence.

Although when Calixtus III. (Alfonso Borgia) succeeded Nicholas V. in
1455, he had no great ideas about resuscitating the architectural
glories of ancient Rome, he nevertheless employed the Lombard Masters
to finish the works begun. Maestro Pietro da Varese, and Maestro Paolo
da Campagnano, with Maestro Antonio di Giovanni from Milan, and
Maestro Paolino da Binasco, were joint architects of the Pontifical
Palace. Maestro Bartolommeo da Como, whom we have known at Milan and
Pavia, was director of the works of fortification at Castel S. Angelo,
while Maestro Stefano da Bissone di Como is named as a sculptor in the
church of S. Spirito.

The next Pope, Pius II. (Æneas Silvio Piccolomini), did so much
building and embellishing in Siena--where the Lombard Masters divided
the honours with their colleagues born in Siena, and trained by
them--that he did little for Rome. He employed the same Pietro da
Giovanni and Paolo da Campagnano between 1460 and 1463, for the roof
of S. Pietro, which menaced destruction. The palace of the Vatican was
placed under the architectural superintendence of Maestro Manfred of
Como and Domenico of Lugano. The first appears to have been designing
architect, and the second master builder, as he commanded squadrons of
workmen, and was assisted in ruling them by his brother Antonio.

Maestro Angelo da Como, and a certain Martino Lombardo, rebuilt the
chambers which had been destroyed by fire, and adorned the "Hall of
the Pavilion" and "Hall of the Parrot."

In the time of Sixtus IV. (Francesco della Rovere, 1471-1484) the
Lombards of the Roman Lodge were joined by their brethren from
Florence, and now we find the two groups inextricably mixed. Baccio
Pontelli and Giuliano da Majano work together with Manfred the Lombard
and Paolo da Campagnano in the administration of the works of the
Vatican; while Francesco and Andrea, both Lombards, are found carving
in wood and executing beautiful doors in _intarsia_, together with
Giovanni and Marco di Dolci, Florentines; Giovanni de' Dolci with his
colleagues (chiefly Comacines) worked at the Sixtine Chapel, some
parts of the Vatican, and the fortress of Civita Vecchia, which Baccio
Pontelli finished. Pope Innocent VIII. (Cibo, 1484-92) added the
Loggia Belvedere to the already immense palace of the Vatican, and
Alexander VI., a Spaniard, built the Borgia apartment, for which he
employed Antonio di San Gallo, or from St. Gall, a Lombard naturalized
Florentine, whose assistants in the work seem to have been chiefly

It was this influx of Florentines, who were fresh from the humanistic
influences of the classic revival of literature under the Medici, and
therefore more open to further inspirations from the influences of
antique Rome, which brought about the revival of classic forms in
architecture in Rome. Bramante and San Gallo began it in 1503, Raphael
and Michael Angelo carried it on; and such hold did the Renaissance
style take on the minds of people in the late Cinque-cento era, that
it spread, and overpowered the Gothic from end to end of Italy.

Vasari raved about the faults of the old architecture and its
_goffissima_ style, upholding the chastened order of the new, but
whatever may have been the merits of Renaissance, as Bramante and
Michael Angelo practised it, their later followers committed quite as
many sins against reason and good taste as any Comacine or Romanesque
architect ever did. Look, for instance, at the church of S. Carlo, in
the Corso at Rome, with its gigantic pilasters running up the whole
height of a front, which is, by its square windows, cut up into three
storeys, giving the lie to the unity of space implied by the mock
columns; and at San Firenze in Florence, where half an arch runs up
into the air and stops short, as a defiance to all laws of gravity.
Arches or pediments, with a _hiatus_ where the key-stone should be,
and which, logically speaking, can support nothing, are the most
common blots on a late Renaissance building.

But we have nothing to do with this era. It was only a late survival
of a side issue of the Comacine Guild which had been practically
dissolved before Michael Angelo's time, although the influence of its
smouldering ashes vivified the art even of that great genius.

The great family of sixteenth-century architects, the Fontana, was of
Comacine origin, though I believe the guild was dissolved by their
time. Domenico Fontana was born at Melide near Como; his elder brother
Giovanni, famous for his stucco work, had preceded him in Rome, but
Domenico was an artist of a wider kind. The Cardinal Felice di
Montalto soon discovered his capacities, and entrusted him with the
erection of the Cappella del Santissimo in S. Maria Maggiore. Here a
very unusual episode occurred. The Cardinal had not means enough to
finish the work, and the brothers Fontana, instead of suing him for
their pay, lent him 1000 scudi. Of course the Cardinal was their great
patron after this, and recommended them to Pope Sixtus V., who
employed them in the Vatican to build the Belvedere and the Library.
Domenico also enshrined the Scala Santa at S. John Lateran; he placed
the obelisks on Piazza S. Giovanni and Piazza S. M. Maggiore; set up
the Castor and Pollux on the Quirinal; built the bridge at Borghetto,
the hospital of S. Sisto, and restored the Alessandrini-Felice
aqueduct; embanked the Fiumicino near Porto; made the water conduit at
Civita Vecchia, which implied tunnelling under a mountain; and the
great aqueduct of Acqua Paola from Bracciano to Rome, thirty-five
miles long; besides constructing fountains everywhere, in Rome and

In fact, he nearly made Cinque-cento Rome. His brother Giovanni was
nominated architect in general to Pope Clement VIII.; and Paul V. made
him chief architect of St. Peter's, with his nephew Carlo Madernò. He
too was employed in Ferrara. For a century the name and race of
Fontana flourished in Rome, some of the family emigrating to Naples,
where they became equally famous. The number of their buildings was
legion; they and the family Della Porta, who also came to Rome from
Lake Lugano, divided the renovation of Rome between them. Girolamo
della Porta, like the Fontanas, was a naturalized Roman.

The Fontana family forms a link with Naples, though not the only
connection of that city with the guild. The Comacine Masters kept up
their connection with Naples long after the time of the Normans, when
Maestro Buono built the Castel Capuana for William I. Merzario claims
for one of his descendants, Buono dei Buoni, the credit of having
first invented painting in oils, which he is supposed to have taught
privately to Antonello of Messina.[304] Several names of the Solari
family, so famous at Milan and Venice, turn up at Naples in the
fifteenth century, and then a famous work was put into Lombard hands.
When Alphonso of Aragon made his entry in 1443, the governors of the
city decreed that a triumphal arch should be built to commemorate the
event. It was placed at the entrance of Castel Nuovo, and consists of
two round towers, with an arch between them, supported on Corinthian
columns. The arch is surmounted by a frieze and cornice, with a
parapet above, enriched with bas-reliefs representing the entry of
King Alphonso. The whole is surmounted by statues of saints and the
cardinal virtues.

The construction of this fine arch has been attributed to Giuliano da
Majano, but as he was at the time only a boy of ten or twelve years
old, this could not be. Sig. Miniero Riccio, after a diligent search
in the Neapolitan archives, has found some acts, which give the names
of sculptors employed on this. We find Pietro di Martino from Milan,
head architect; Isaja da Pisa, Domenico di Montemignano, Antonio da
Pisa, Francesco Arzara, Paolo Romano, and Domenico Lombardo. This
authorship is confirmed by the epigraph in the church of S. Maria la
Nuova in Naples, dated 1470, in memory of Pietro di Martino, Milanese,
who, for his merit in erecting the arch at Castel Nuovo, was created
Cavalier by King Alphonso, and a sepulchre was given in this church
for him and his descendants.[305]

If the date had only been a little later, we might have supposed this
to be Pietro Lombardo, son of Martino Solario, who had won such fame
in Venice; but as he died in 1512, it is scarcely likely he would have
been well-known enough to have obtained such an important commission
in 1440. Knowing how a certain succession of names was, and is, kept
up in Italian families, this Pietro and Martino might have been the
father and grandfather of the Martino da Carona, father of Pietro
Lombardo, especially as they had Domenico, also a Solari, with them.

King Alphonso was a good patron to the Comacine Masters, and greatly
appreciated them. On February 16, 1456, a gentleman at Terracina wrote
to the Duke Francesco Sforza, saying that _some master builders from
Como_, in leaving the realm of Naples, had been made to forfeit 190
ducats, on which they appealed to the King. Alphonso ordered the
restitution of the money, excepting a small tribute to the
confiscators, which he made good to the Comacine Masters out of his
own purse.[306]

From 1484 to 1508, a Maestro Tomaso da Como, sometimes called _Tomaso
delle parti di Lombardia_, master sculptor, was living in Naples. He
was paid for the carving of the principal door of the church of the
Annunziata, which his son Giovanni finished after his death. His will
still exists. It is dated July 2, 1508, and says that "Mastro Tomaso
de Sumalvito (now Sanvito) de la terra de Como de la parti di
Lombardia, marmorario habitante in Napoli: istituisce herede Joan
Thomaso de Sumalvito de Napoli suo figlio," and declares besides that
a debt of three ducats is still owing to him on the work for the great
doorway of the church of the Annunziata. The fine monument to Signor
Antonio d'Alessandro and his wife, Maddalena Riccio, in the church of
Monte Oliveto, and that of the Bishop of Aversa in the same church,
were sculptured by Tommaso de Sanvito, as he is called in the books of
Orvieto, where he was head architect.

His son Giovanni built, in 1509, the fine chapel of the Macellai in
the church of S. Eligio, and the "Confession" of S. Gennaro under the
tribune of the cathedral of Naples, where the yearly miracle of the
liquefaction of the blood of S. Gennaro takes place. Even the
beautiful Royal Palace at Capodimonte was built by a Lombard, Domenico
Fontana of Melide, near Como, whose family we have seen was more
famous in Rome than in Naples? Domenico, however, died in Naples in
1607, and was buried in S. Anna dei Lombardi, where his sons Sebastian
and Julius Cæsar (Giulio Fontana) wrote on his tomb--"Patritius
Romanus, Summus Romae Architectus. Summus Neapolis." Like so many of
his predecessors in the guild, he had been given the citizenship of
the towns he had embellished. It is this which makes it so difficult
to trace the artists--the same man may appear successively as being a
citizen of Rome, of Orvieto and Siena, and yet have been born at Como
in spite of all.

Enough has been said to show that at Rome and Naples, as well as in
other cities, the great Lombard Guild led the way. The guild, which
may be looked on as the flower of the Renaissance, had, however,
reached the period when its blossoming time was over; its many petals,
too much spread, were falling from all its branches. Some had dropped
off long since, and new suckers formed in the painting academies, and
the sculptors' companies, at Siena, Florence, Venice, and other parts.
These suckers had, by the fifteenth century, grown into independent
plants, that threatened to overshadow and choke the ancient trunk. Art
knowledge of all kinds had now become dispersed outside the jealous
custody of the once secret Freemasonry, and the Cinque-cento artist
stood alone on his own merit, without needing the _cachet_ of the
Masonic title of _Magister_. There were, after this time, Masters in
every other art or trade guild, the nomenclature of this most ancient
and universal of guilds having been adopted by all other guilds
whatsoever; so that even in our own England we find Master Humphrey
the iron-worker, or Master Ambrose the cloth-weaver; and in Italy
Maestro Giorgio the maker of majolica, and Maestro Pollajuolo the
metal-worker; and in Germany the "Little Masters," who, I opine, were
a German group of painters, who, like their brethren of the South,
seceded from the Masters _par excellence_, i.e. the great Masonic



[291] Marchese Ricci, _Dell' Architettura in Italia_, Vol. I. chap. ii.
p. 467.

[292] _Ibid._

[293] _Ibid._

[294] Boito, _Architettura del Medio Evo. I Cosmati_, p. 124.

[295] † ANNO V̊ PONT[^IF] [^DN]I

[296] This Giovanni, _Jubente_ or President of the lodge, would
probably be the same one under whom the bronze doors of the Baptistery
of S. John Lateran were made. By this date he has risen to be Abbot.

        D͠NS. Albertus. Venerabilis an
     agnin e͞ps fecit hoc fieri paviment͠u pi (pro illo) construendo
     magister Rainaldus anagnin canonicus,
     DNI. Honorii III. PP. subdiacon' et capellan'
     C obolos aureos erogavit. Magist. Cosmos hoc op fecit.

[298] _Storia della città di Roma nel medio evo_, translated into
Italian by Renato Manzato, vol. vii. p. 744. Venice, 1875.

[299] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. II. chap. xxxviii. p. 413.

[300] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. II. chap. xxxvii. p. 415.

[301] Probably the son of Cristoforo di Milano, who worked so much in
Venice and Udine. He may have been employed by the Medici in their
buildings at Pietrasanta.

[302] "Superstans marmorariis laborantibus, lapides marmoreas pro
ecclesia et palatio Sancti Marci presidens fabrice palatii
apostolici."--Muntz, _Les Arts à la Cour des Papes_, vol. i. p. 606.
It is interesting to note that the head of the _laborerium_ bore the
same title as in A.D. 1250, when Guido da Como wrote on his pulpit,
"Superstans Turrisianus."

[303] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. II. chap. xxxviii. p. 424.

[304] Merzario, _I Maestri Comacini_, Vol. II. chap. xxxvi. p. 359.

[305] "Petrus de Martino Mediolanensis ob triumphalem arcis novæ arcum
solerter structum et multa statuariæ artis suo munere hinc œdi
oblata, a divo Alphonso rege in equestrem adscribi ordinem et ab
ecclesia hoc sepulcro pro se ac posteris suis donari meruit
MCCCCLXX."--Merzario, _Op. cit._ Vol. II. chap. xxxvi. p. 375, note 4.

[306] Milanese State Archives. Documents of the Dukes Sforza.


When I began writing this work, my object was to prove that the
Comacine Masters were the true mediæval link between Classic and
Renaissance Art. The results have been greater than I then foresaw. In
attaching this link in its true place, the chain of Art History takes
a new and changed aspect, and instead of several loose strands with
here and there detached links, it becomes one continuous whole, from
early Christian Rome to the Rome of Raphael and Michael Angelo.

The famous artists who formed the rise of the different schools of the
Renaissance, were not each a separate genius inspired from within, but
brethren of one Guild, whose education was identical, and whose
teachers passed on to them what they received from their
predecessors--the accumulated art-teaching of ages.

I am aware that in tracing the progress of this great Guild, the weak
points are the derivation of the Comacines of Lombard times from the
Roman public architects, who built for Constantine and Pope Adrian;
and the connection of this Lombard Guild with the early Cathedral
builders of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Between each of these transitions there lies a century or two of
decadence, during the barbaric invasions and general demoralization
which I have indicated in the earlier chapters. But I think I have
given arguments enough to prove these affinities. For the first, we
have the identity of form and ornamentation in their works, and the
similarity of nomenclature and organization between the Roman
_Collegio_ and the Lombard Guild of _Magistri_. Besides this, the
well-known fact that the free republic of Como was used as a refuge by
Romans who fled from barbaric invasion, makes a strong argument.

For the second, we may plead again the same identity of form and
ornamentation, and a like similarity of organization and nomenclature.
Just as King Luitprand's architects were called _Magistri_, and their
grand master the _Gastaldo_, so we have found the great architectural
Guild in Venice, in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth
centuries, using the very same titles, and having the same laws.

In the Tuscan schools which have been traced direct from Lombard
times, we have the same offices with the titles translated into a more
mediæval Italian--or late Latin--form; the _Gastaldo_ here becomes
_Arch Magister_. In some Lodges it is more significant still, the
ancient Roman _Superstans_ is modified into _Soprastante_, thus
forming a very suggestive connection between early Christian Rome and
Tuscany. Again, the hereditary descent is marked by the patron saints
of the Lombard and Tuscan Lodges, being four martyr brethren from a
Roman _Collegio_. All these and other indications are surely as strong
as documental proof.

The lists of the Comacine Guild begin with a few masters, who are
seemingly members of three or four families only, the men of the
Buoni, Antelami, and Campione schools forming the aristocracy of the

We have seen how, as the church-building era developed, the
brotherhood grew and multiplied.

The Antelami family founded Lodges in Parma, Padua, and Verona; the
Campione at Modena, Bergamo, and Cremona; the Buoni family spread
eastwards to Venice, and southwards to Tuscany, founding everywhere
_laboreriums_ and schools.

Three hundred years later we see the descendants of the Buoni and
Campione artists together, building the Gothic and Renaissance palaces
at Venice; masters of the Graci and Antelami families rearing the
cathedrals of Siena and Orvieto; and in all the ages dispersing about
Italy from north to south. We have seen how all these schools
increased; native artists joining the Lombard ones, and working
together with them, and though a distinctive local style was the
characteristic of each school, yet in their fundamental principles
they all had one rule and one teaching.

As the Guild increased and multiplied, in the times of the foundation
of rival Communes, all vying with each other in building glorious
churches, noble palaces, and fine houses, it frequently happened that
the primitive Lombard element was overpowered by the newer local one,
and then schisms and disintegration took place.

Separate local Guilds were thus formed at Venice, Siena, and Florence.

The painters next seceded, and started painting as an art independent
of church decoration; and thus the Academies of Art were formed. This
split took place so late after the city _Arti_ or Guilds were
established, that the painters of Florence, having left the
Freemasons, had no Guild of their own; and if they wished to enjoy
civic privileges, they had to enroll themselves in the Company of the
Gold-workers, or that of the Apothecaries. Here we get at once a clear
explanation of the goldsmith painters in Florence.

This disintegration reached its climax when Brunellesco defied the
_Maestranze_ or Masonic Magisters, proving that the Freemasons had not
the exclusive right to genius; and that genius had its own claims to
be heard, even without the pale of that monopolizing Guild. I think
that his dome literally crushed out the almost effete institution of
Freemasons, and that the Florentine Lodge was broken up soon after;
for by Michael Angelo's time the Medici had to supply a school for
sculptors, which we have seen was placed under the instruction of old
Bertoldo,--a lingering relic of the great company.

At first sight it might appear that this revelation of the universal
fraternity would materially alter the history of art. In some aspects
it does; for we can no longer say that Maitani built Siena cathedral,
or Arnolfo that of Florence, nor assert that St. Mark's at Venice was
entirely Byzantine, or Milan cathedral the work of a German architect.
They were all the joint labours of the same brotherhood of artists,
the plans made by the first Arch-master being modified a score of
times as the centuries went on, and art developed. But in the great
points the story of Art remains as it was. Certain masters still stand
out as leaders and founders of schools, and every school had its own
separate bias and special development of style; but Niccolò di Pisa's
influence on future ages is not lessened by our finding out the
masters who trained him; the Lorenzetti, Memmi, and Gaddi are not the
less famous because their frescoes illustrated with divine truths the
walls built by the hands of their brethren of the great Guild.

The recognition of the complex brotherhood only renders history more
compact and concentrated, giving it a rich and perfect unity, and
showing a gradual and consistent development, like some perfect flower
which grows leaf by leaf, bud by bud, until the petals fall from its
own over-blossoming. But its seeds are left to future ages.


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"Antichità Longobardico-Milanese."

DIFENDENTE E GIUSEPPE SACCHI. "Antichità Romantiche d'Italia. Saggio
primo intorno all' Architettura Simbolica civile e militare usata in
Italia nei secoli VI, VII, e VIII." Milano, 1828. 8vo.

PROF. MERZARIO. "I Maestri Comacini." Milano, 1893. Two volumes, large
8vo., published at Milan by Giacomo Agnelli. "Via S. Margherita," No.
2; price 12 frs.


CESARE CANTÙ. "Storia di Como." Como, 1829. Ostinello.

MARCHESE AMICO RICCI. "Storia dell' Architettura in Italia dal secolo
IV al XVIII." Modena, 1857. 3 vols. large 8vo.

RAFFAELLO CATTANEO. "L' Architettura in Italia dal secolo sesto al
decimo." Venezia, 1889. Ferdinando Ongania.

DOTT. GAETANO MILANESI. "Documenti per la storia dell' Arte Senese."
Siena, 1854. Porri. 2 vols. 8vo.

DOTT. GAETANO MILANESI. "Annotazioni alle opere di Vasari." Florence,
1882. Sansoni. 8 vols. large 8vo.

JAMES FERGUSSON, M.R.I.B.A. "Handbook of Architecture." London, 1859.

ALESSANDRO DA MORRONA. "Pisa illustrata nelle arti del disegno."
Livorno, 1812. 3 vols.

CAV. FRANCESCO TOLOMEI. "Guida di Pistoja per gli amanti delle Belle
Arti." Pistoja, 1821.

CESARE GUASTI. "La Cupola di Santa Maria del Fiore." Illustrata con i
documenti dell' archivio. Barbera. Florence, 1857.

CESARE GUASTI. "Santa Maria del Fiore." La costruzione della chicesa
del campanile, secondo i documenti tratti dall' archivio dell' opera
secolare e da quello di stato. Firenze. Ricci, 1887.

AGOSTINO SAGREDO. "Sulle Consorterie delle Arti Edificative in
Venezia. Studi storici con documenti inediti." Venezia, 1857.

TOMMASO HOPE. "Storia dell' Architettura." Italian translation of
Hope's "Historical Essay on Architecture," by Sig. Gaetano Imperatori.
Milano, 1841.

"Archivio storico Siciliano." Nuova serie, Anno IX. "Una scultura di
Bonaiuto Pisano."

"Archivio storico Longobardico," 1898. "Descrizione di una chiesa
antica sul monte di Civate."

GIOVANNI VILLANI. "Storia di Fiorenza." Filippo e Jacopo Giunti, 1587.

MURATORI. "Annali d'Italia." Milano, 1744. 13 vols. quarto.

MURATORI. "Scriptores Rerum Italicarum."

CAMILLO BOITO. "I Cosmati" (pamphlet).

DOTT. GIOVANNI GAYE. "Carteggio inedito d'artisti dei secoli XIV, XV e
XVI." Firenze, 1839. Molini. 3 vols. 8vo.

DOTT. CARLO DELL' ACQUA. "Dell' insigne reale Basilica di S. Michele
Maggiore in Pavia." Pavia, 1875. Fusi.

FATHER MULROODY. "The Basilica of San Clemente."

DEL ROSSO. "L' Osservatore Fiorentino." Third Edition. 1821. Ricci.
Florence. 8 vols. 8vo.

CIAMPI. "Archivio del Duomo di Pisa."

"Instituzioni, riti e ceremonie dell' ordine dei Francs-maçons, ossia
Liberi Muratori." Venezia, 1788. Bassaglia.

MRS. JAMESON. "Sacred and Legendary Art." London, 1879. Longmans,
Green and Co.

PAULUS DIACONUS. "Storia dei Fatti dei Longobardi." Udine, 1826.

JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS. "Renaissance of Art: Fine Arts." London, 1877.
Smith and Elder.

MONTALEMBERT. "The Monks of the West" (Italian translation).

PIETRO SELVATICO. "Storia estetico-critica dell' arti del disegno."

PIETRO SELVATICO. "Sull' architettura e sulla scultura in Venezia nel
medio evo sino ai nostri giorni." Venice, 1847. Ripamonte.

MILMAN. "A History of Latin Christianity."

"Borgo San Donnino e suo Santuario" (anonymous).

AFFÒ. "Storia della città di Parma," sino al 1347. Parma, 1837.

DIFENDENTE SACCHI. "L' arca di S. Agostino illustrata."

MICHELE RIDOLFI. "Sopra alcuni monumenti delle belle Arti di Lucca."
Lucca, 1844. Guidotti.


     Abadia on Lake Maggiore, 114

     Abbondio, S., bishop of Como, 34, 142

     Accademia delle Belle Arti, Florence, 280

     Adelgiso, son of Desiderius, 56

     Adrian I., pope, 403

     Agilulf, king, marries Theodolinda, 33;
       shelters St. Columban, 86

     Alachi, duke of Brescia, 47, 54

     Alba Fucense, its pulpit, 238

     Albertus Magnus, 12, 134, 137, 201

     Alboin, enters Italy, 31, 32

     Alexander II., pope, 226

     Alfonso, duke of Calabria, 304

     Alfred, king, founds Ripon cathedral, 150

     Alphonso of Aragon, 419

     Amalasunta, queen, her hospital, 107

     Amantius, bishop of Como, 34, 78

     Anagni, 410

     Ancona, the Pieve at, 242, 243

     Andrea Pisano, 211, 328

     Andrea from Serra di Falco, 114

     Annex, a German, 355

     Anselberga, daughter of King Desiderius, 56

     Ansige, abbot of Fontanelles, 103

     Antelami (Magistri), 188, 189, 232, 424

     Antonio di San Gallo, 416

     Antonio, S., 200

     Aquisgrana (Aix-la-Chapelle), the Basilica, 103

     Arca di S. Agostino, 50, 202 _et seq._

     Arches, first pointed, 178, 179;
       cusped arch, 252

     Ardoin, 128

     Arezzo, its palace, 234

     Aribert II., 46

     Arichi, duke of Lombardy, 44

     Arnolfo di Cambio, 224, 291, 313;
       his death, 325

     Arte della Lana, 337, 343

     Arte dei Maestri di Pietra, Senese, 286

     Arte dei Maestri di Pietra, at Florence, 338, 343

     Arte de' Medici e Speziali, 273

     Arte degli Orafi, 339, 425

     Arte della Seta, 338, 343

     Arte dei tajapiere, Venice, 387 _et seq._

     Assisi, first parts Gothic, 252;
       painting, 272

     Asteno, near Porlezza, its church, 184

     Astolfo, king, 55

     Autharis, king, takes Comacina, 28, 141;
       marries Theodolinda, 32;
       builds church of Farfa, 35

     Ava, the Longobard, 285

     Azzo Visconti, 381

     Baptisteries, their form, 115

     Barbarossa, Frederic, 116

     Bargello at Florence, 61, 149

     Barnack church, 149

     Basle, Comacine work there, 135

     Beneventum, dukes of, 114;
       cathedral of, 246

     Benozzo Gozzoli, 276

     Berengarius, the house of, 109

     Bertharis, king, dethroned and recalled, 45;
       saved by his servants, 53

     Bianchi and Neri factions, 236

     Biscop (Benedict), abbot of Wearmouth, 150

     Boniface, St., his mission to Germany, 133

     Bradford-on-Avon, 149, 157

     Bramante, 416

     Bregno, Antonio, 393

     Brixworth, 147

     Broletto at Como, 382

     Brunellesco, Filippo, 321;
       his dome, 340 _et seq._, 428

     Buono, Giovanni, fights for Como, 116;
       his descendants, 233, 239

     Buono (Maestro), 236, 237.
       _See_ Gruamons, 393

     Buschetto, 209 _et seq._

     Byzantine work, compared with Comacine, 75, 158

     Cadoc, St., 147

     Cambio, or Exchange, 315

     Campione school, 196 _et seq._, 232, 352, 425

     Carloman, 58

     Casciano, San, near Florence, the pulpit, 225

     Castel Capuana, 233

     Castle of Branigola, 41

     Castle of Perleda, 40

     Castle of Tivoli, 260

     Certosa at Pavia, 358 _et seq._

     Charlemagne, emperor, rebuilds Rome, 15;
       defeats Desiderius, 58, 97;
       takes Comacines to France, 105

       S. Abbondio, Como, 84
       S. Agatha al Monte, Pavia, 45
       S. Agnese _fuori le mura_, 9, 97, 152, 403
       S. Ambrogio, Milan, 83, 84;
         its pulpit, 88, 148;
         its atrium, 112, 147, 244
       S. Andrea, Pistoja, 233, 249
       S. Antonio, Padua, 199
       S. Apollinare in Classe, 153, 157
       Ara Cœli, 409
       S. Bartholomew, Smithfield, 124, 125
       S. Bartolommeo, Pistoja, 153, 230, 235, 249
       S. Benigno at Dijon, 122, 123
       S. Cassiano, near Pisa, 222
       S. Clemente, panel of altar, 9;
         fresco, 10;
         door, 156;
         paintings, 266
       S. Croce, 277, 333
       S. Donato at Polenta, 92, 93
       S. Donnino, near Parma, 181
       S. Fedele, Como, 81, 104
       S. Francesco at Assisi, 179
       S. Fredianus, Lucca, 48, 49, 94, 246
       S. Gemignano, Modena, 193
       S. George, Brescia, 47
       S. Giovanni in Borgo, Pavia, 42
       S. Giovanni Evangelista Fuorcivitas, Pistoja, 223, 234, 236
       S. Giovanni Laterano, 408
       S, Giovanni e Paolo, Rome, 65
       S. Giusto, Lucca, 244
       S. Julia at Bonate, 40, 41
       S. Lorenzo _fuori le mura_, Rome, 407
       S. Lorenzo in Lucca, 99
       S. Lorenzo, Verona, 96, 153
       S. Marco dei Precipazi, 84
       S. Maria in Cosmedin, 97-99, 404, 405, 411
       S. Maria _foris portam_, 46
       S. Maria dei Fiori, Florence, 312 _et seq._, 337
       S. Maria Novella, Florence, 278
       S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, 182 _et seq._
       S. Maria Maggiore, Brescia, 47
       S. Maria Maggiore, Toscanella, its pulpit, 89
       S. Maria del Tiglio, at Gravedona, 40, 152
       S. Martino at Lucca, 226
       S. Michele in Borgo, Pisa, 223, 245
       S. Michele, Lucca, 228, 243
       S. Michele, Monza, 37 _et seq._
       S. Michele, Pavia, 50 _et seq._;
         its façade, 77-80
       Monreale cathedral, 127
       Or San Michele, Florence, 333
       S. Paolo _fuori le mura_, Rome, 407
       S. Paolo, Pistoja, 240
       S. Pier Scheraggio, 91;
         its pulpit, 406
       S. Piero in Grado, 37, 50;
         its foundation, 100;
         its form, 101, 173, 268
       S. Piero Maggiore, Pistoja, 240
       S. Pietro in Ciel d'oro, Pavia, 50
       S. Pietro le Dome, Brescia, 47
       S. Pietro di Monte Civate, 56 _et seq._
       S. Prassede, 97, 148
       SS. _Quattro Coronati_, 22
       S. Salvatore, Pavia, 46
       S. Sofia, Beneventum, 248
       S. Sofia, Constantinople, 69, 70
       S. Tommaso at Lemine, 41
       S. Zeno, Verona, 95, 96, 111

     Cimabue, 271, 274;
       his scholars, 275, 278, 323

     Cione family, 331 _et seq._

     Clement VIII., pope, 418

     Cloisters, San Lorenzo, Rome, 65;
       S. John Lateran, 66;
       Voltorre, 115;
       S. Zeno, Verona, 66

     Colle in Val d'Elsa, 316, 318

     Collegia, Romana, 7, 10, 11, 138 _et seq._, 403

     Cologne, churches at, 136

     Colonies, Lombard, in Sicily, 128, 129

     Comacina island a refuge for Romans, 23

     Comacine Masters, who they were, 5 _et seq._

     Comagene, now Eufratisia, 69

     Como, a Roman colony, 5, 141;
       its antiquities, 25, 26;
       is besieged, 116;
       its war with Milan, 233;
       its cathedral, 381 _et seq._

     Confraternity of painters at Florence, 280

     Constantine the Great, 53;
       his Basilica, 403

     Constantinople, 142

     Contract of apprenticeship, 292

     Convents, Comacine, their form and style, 65

     Corneto Tarquinia, 227;
       ciborium there, 238

     Cortelona, Luitprand's villa, 54

     Cosimo I., Grand Duke, 280

     Cosimo Rosselli, 275

     Cremona, its cathedral, 185, 186

       Bewcastle, 147
       Clonmacnoise, 166
       Collingham, 147
       Kells, 166
       Kirkdale, 147, 148
       Whalley, 145
       Yarm, 147

     Cunibert, king, 47;
       goes to Lucca, 48;
       fights Alachi, 54;
       erects tomb to Theodata, 87

     Desiderius, abbot, 114, 210

     Desiderius, king, 55 _et seq._

     Diotisalvi, Pisan architect, 214

     Donatello, 306, 337

     Donnino, Borgo San, its church, 181

     Duccio of Siena, 276

     Edwin, king, builds York cathedral, 145

     Eginbert, biographer of Charlemagne, 103

     Eriprand, duke of Cremona, 45

     Ermelind, queen, 87

     Ethelred, king, rebuilt Oxford cathedral, 159

     Fabiola, her hospice, 107

     Faliero, Doge Marino, 390

     Falleri, 409

     Fermo cathedral, 190

     Ferrara, its cathedral, 198

     Fiesole destroyed, 14;
       its cathedral, 236

     Filippo Maria Visconti, 382

     Florence founded, 14;
       its baptistery, 213 _note_;
       its Duomo, 312 _et seq._

     Fontana family, 417 _et seq._

     Fontana, Giovanni, 258

     Fontana, Melide, 258

     Fortresses, Comacine, 66;
       Baradello, 68;
       Civita Vecchia, 416

     Fortunato, patriarch, of Grado, 113;
       employs Comacines, 175, 176

     France, Lombard architecture in, 131, 132

     Francesco del Coro, 300

     "Franchi Artefici," meaning of the term, 113

     Frederic, emperor, 128, 318

     Fredianus, S., bishop of Lucca, 48, 164

     Freemasons in mediæval times, 12, 13

     Freemasons, seventeenth century, Italian, 16 _et seq._;
       English building Freemasons, 18

     French Masters in Italy, 359

     Frescoes, early Christian, 266 _et seq._;
       Byzantine, 268;
       Tuscan, 405, 426

     Galeazzo, Gian, 351 _et seq._, 358;
       his death, 364, 373, 381

     Gastaldo, Grand Master, 86, 388 _et seq._, 424

     Genseric destroys Roman churches, 403

     German Masters in Italy, 320, 358, 360 _et seq._

     Germany, Lombard architecture there, 133 _et seq._;
       its cathedrals, 216

     Ghiberti employed at the Duomo, 341 _et seq._

     Ghini family, 331

     Giotto, 278, 323, 326 _et seq._

     Giovanni da Gratz, 369

     Giuliano da Majano, 414, 416, 419

     Giunta di Pisa, 271;
       his scholars, 276

     Glass, early manufacture of, 156

     Grado, near Pisa, church at, 100 _et seq._

     Grado, near Venice, its Basilica, 113, 174

     Greek Masters in Italy, 74, 273

     Gregory, pope, 143, 144

     Grimoald, duke of Beneventum, 45, 47

     Groppoli, near Pistoja, its pulpit, 249

     Gruamonte, 234 _et seq._

     Guazetta, 335

     Guido da Siena, 272, 275

     Guidotti dal Colle, 271

     Guillaume, S., abbot of S. Benigne, 122, 126, 175

     Gundeberg, queen, 42;
       builds churches, 42;
       her rings, and the ring fair, 43, 44

     Gunduald, Luitprand's doctor, 54

     Heinrich or Ulric of Gmunden, 361, 369, 374

     Heinrich of Ulm, 361, 362

     Hexham church, 150 _et seq._

     Honorius, Bishop of Canterbury, 145

     Hospices, 106, 107

     Iconoclastic edict, 73

     Justinian, emperor, rebuilds Sta. Sofia, 69

     Laborerium, 207:
       at Canterbury, in fourth century, 148
       Certosa di Pavia, 376 _et seq._
       Cremona, 186
       Florence, 207, 319, 339;
         closed, 344
       Lucca before 1000 A.D., 20
       Milan in 1383, 20;
         fifteenth century, 355 _et seq._
       Modena under the Campione Masters, 19, 195, 198
       Parma in 1200 A.D., 19, 186, 189, 238
       Pisa, 211, 214, 223, 231, 312
       Pistoja, 190, 231, 233, 236, 238, 241, 247
       Rome, 410 _et seq._
       Siena and Orvieto, 285 _et seq._, 305

     Leo III., the Isaurian, 73, 74

     Leonardo da Vinci, 369

     Lion of Judah, sign of Comacine work, 243, 244

     Loggie (Lodges), 19, 61, 201, 208, 288, 305

     Lombard colonies in Sicily, 128

     Lombard kings, chronological table of, 30

     Lombard Masters, table of, 31

     Lombards in Rome, 412;
       in Venice, 386;
       Siena, 301, 305

     Lombardi Solari family, 395 _et seq._

     Lorenzo il Magnifico, 280

     Lothaire, bishop, his church of S. Zeno, 96

     Lothaire, king, his wars, 108

     Lucca, 225 _et seq._, 246

     Luitprand, king, his laws for Comacines, 24, 44, 63 _et seq._, 160;
       his foot, 50;
       his churches, 50 _et seq._

     Magister, what the term means, 15;
       Arch Magister, 17;
       Magisters in Sicily, 129;
       Magistri frati, 200, 287;
       different kinds, 265

       Adam, atrium of S. Ambrogio, 112
       Adam, de Arogno, 182
       Agostino da Siena, 298
       Albertinus Buono, 239
       Albertus Buono, 239
       Ambrogio Lenzo, 334
       Andrea Fusina, 371
       Andrea da Modena, 352 _et seq._
       Andrea di Pisa, 211, 220, 224
       Anselmo (Tedesco) da Campione, and Arrigo, Alberto, and Jacopo,
         his sons, 194 _et seq._
       Antonio of Como, 260
       Antonio Mantegazza, 378
       Antonio da Padernò, 369
       Antonio Rizo, or Riccio, 391, 392, 397
       Apollonius, 273
       Arnolfo, 224, 291, 313, 407
       Auripert, a painter, 55
       Bartolo Fredi, 276
       Bartolommeo Buono, 253, 260, 390, 393, 398
       Bartolommeo de Gorgonzola, 368
       Bartolommeo di Pisa, bronze worker, 221
       Beltramo, 413 _et seq._
       Benedetto da Antelamo, 187, 188, 245
       Bernardino da Bissone, 386, 391
       Bernardo da Venezia, 374
       Bertrando of Como, 260
       Biduinus, 222
       Bonaiuto di Pisa, 223
       Bonanno, 220, 221
       Bonino da Campione, 203
       Buono, 236, 237, 238
       Cellini, 239
       Cimabue, 274
       Cosmato, and his family, 409 _et seq._
       Cristoforo Gobbo, 371, 379
       Cristoforo Mantegazza, 378
       Diotisalvi of Pisa, 214, 250, 291
       Dolcebono Rodari, 368, 377
       Enrico Buono, 239
       Filippino degli Argani, 364 _et seq._, 366
       Francesco di Giorgio Martini, 303, 370 _et seq._
       Francesco Talenti, 328 _et seq._, 334
       Franciscus da S. Simone, 276
       Fredus, 183
       Giacomo Dolcibuono, 370
       Giacomo da Pietrasanta, 414
       Giorgio degli Argani, 366
       Giorgio da Iesi, 190
       Giovan Antonio Amadeo, 370, 377
       Giovanni di Ambrogio, 336
       Giovanni Balducci di Pisa, 225
       Giovanni Buoni da Bissone, 189, 233, 385
       Giovanni Buono, 253;
         builds Ca d'Oro, 389
       Giovanni da Campilione, 184
       Giovanni da Carona, 366 _et seq._
       Giovannino dei Graci, 363, 375
       Giovanni di Lapo Ghino, 328 _et seq._, 334
       Giovanni Pisano, 222, 224, 291, 293 _et seq._
       Giovanni Solari, 377
       Graci, 237;
         a later one, 291
       Gufredo, 182
       Guglielmo Tedesco, 220, 223
       Guglielmo, his porch at S. Zeno, 112;
         façade at Modena, 196;
         at Ferrara, 198
       Guidetto, his works at Lucca, 227-231
       Guido da Como, 227, 249, 250
       Guiniforte, 367, 378, 395
       Jacobus Porrata, 186, 251
       Jacopo da Campione, 257 _et seq._, 375 _et seq._
       Jacopo Dagurro da Bissone, 261
       Jacopo della Quercia, 298 _et seq._
       Jacopo (Tedesco) da Campione, 197, 252, 294, 315 _et seq._
       Jacopo da Tradate, 363;
         his sons, 364
       Lando, 297 _et seq._
       Lanfrancus, 115, 193
       Lorenzo di Mariano, 302
       Lorenzo de' Spazi, 382
       Luca Fancelli, 369
       Manfredo of Como, 260
       Marco da Carona, 356, 358, 365
       Marco da Frixone, 353 _et seq._
       Martino di Giorgio da Varenna, 302
       Matteo da Campione, 197, 363, 386 _et seq._
       Niccolao Pela, 336
       Niccolò Pisano, 211, 222, 247, 250, 291
       Nicolaus, his porch at S. Zeno, 112;
         façade at Modena, 196;
         Ferrara, 198
       Nino di Pisa, 224, 225
       Pantaleone Buono, 393
       Paolo da Campagnano, 260
       Paulinus, 145
       Paulus and his sons, 407
       Philippus, an Englishman, 69
       Piccone, 54
       Piero di Beltrami, 301
       Pietro di Apulia, 221, 247
       Pietro Lombardi and his descendants, 395 _et seq._, 398
       Pietro da Varese, 413 _et seq._
       Rainaldo, 212
       Rainaldus, sculptures façade of Pisa cathedral, 16
       Ramo da Paganelli, 293
       Roberto, 246
       Simone da Arsenigo, 352 _et seq._, 354
       Simone Talenti, 331, 336
       Fra Sisto and Fra Ristoro, 125, 318
       Tommaso di Como, 420
       Uberto and his brother Pietro, 408
       Ugone da Campione and his sons, 183
       Urbano da Cortona, 306
       Ursus, his ciborium, 85
       Zeno da Campione, 363

     Majorca, 213

     Manfred, king, 318

     Maniace, Lombard colony there, 128

     Margaritone of Arezzo, 275

     Maximilian, emperor, 138

     Mellitus, the monk, 144

     Michael Angelo, 416

     Milan, its Duomo, 350 _et seq._

     Missions (early) to Normandy, 123 _et seq._;
       to Germany, 133 _et seq._;
       to England, 143 _et seq._;
       to Ireland, 160 _et seq._

     Modena, its Duomo, 116, 193

       S. Abbondio at Bercela, 54
       S. Fredianus, Lucca, 48
       S. George, 47, 48
       Sta. Giulia, Brescia, 53
       Monte Barro, 40
       Palazzolo at Lucca, 54
       Subiaco, 179

     Monkswearmouth, Durham, 156

     Monreale, its cathedral, 127

     Monte Cassino, convent, 66, 114

     Monza, its church, 380 _et seq._

     Mosques, El Haram and Amrou, 179

     Murano, its church, 113

     Mythic sculpture, 75, 80

     Nanni di Banco, 337

     Nicholas V., pope, 412

     Nicknames, their common use, 235 _note_

     Nino di Pisa, 225

     Norman architecture, 123, 126, 130

     Normans, their connection with Sicily, 121, 128

     Oil paintings, 277, 418

     Opera. _See_ Laborerium

     Orcagna, 329, 332 _et seq._

     Orseolo (Doge Pietro), 390

     Orsino (Virginio), Duke of Bracciano, 304

     Orso Orseolo, patriarch of Aquileja, 122

     Orvieto, its Duomo, 224, 300 _et seq._;
       Chapel of Three Kings, 301, 414

     Otho, emperor, confirms Comacine privileges, 27

     Otho, his decree, 27, 28;
       he conquers Italy, 109, 135

     Otho Orseolo, Doge of Venice, 122

     Padua, church of S. Antonio, 199, 237

     Painters of the Guild, their secession, 265 _et seq._

     Palaces (private), Florentine, 258;
       Venetian, 260

     Palace of Desiderius at S. Gemignano, 62, 257

     Palace, Luitprand's, at Milan, 62

     Palazzo Pubblico, 256;
       at Perugia, 257;
       at Todi, 257;
       at Udine, 258;
       Capodimonte, 421

     Palazzo Vecchio (Florence), 61, 259

     Palazzo Venezia (Rome), 415 _et seq._

     Palermo, its cathedral, 126, 213

     Papal forts, 260, 261, 415

     Parma, 238

     Paulinus, assists St. Augustine, 145

     Pavia, its church, 50, 77 _et seq._;
       its castle, 202;
       its Certosa, 373 _et seq._

     Penna, inscription there, 191

     Pepin, king, founds church of S. Lorenzo, 96

     Peter Martyr, St., his tomb, 225

     Piacenza, its walls, 106

     Pisa, beginning of the Duomo, 173, 209 _et seq._;
       baptistery, 214

     Pistoja, 223, 225 _et seq._;
       its baptistery, 240

     Pius II., pope, 260

     Pliny's villa at Como, 26

     Prato, its Duomo, 229

     _Provveditore_, his office, 208 _et seq._;
       his books, 322 _et seq._

     _SS. Quattro Coronati_, 20;
       inscription to them, 21;
       sculptures representing them, 207;
       their _fête_, 289

     Quercia, Jacopo della, 337

     Rahere, founder of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, 124

     Rainaldo, Magister at Pisa, 211, 212

     Raphael, 416

     Ratchis, king, becomes a monk, 55

     Ravenna, towers at, 153, 154

     Richard, prior of Hagustald, 160

     Richard II., of Normandy, duke, 123, 158

     Roger I., duke, 126

     Roger II., king of Apulia, 126

     Rome, Comacine fortresses near, 260;
       Lombards in Rome, 412 _et seq._

     Rotharis, king, his laws, 5, 6, 160

     Runic inscriptions, 148

       Augustine, 143, 145
       Boniface, 133, 271, 233, 239
       Columban, founds convent at Bobbio, 86, 164, 167
       Cumianus, his tomb, 86
       Fredianus, 48, 164
       Gregory, 264
       Hugh of Lincoln, 143
       Luke, the company of, 280, 332
       Modwen, 143
       Nilus, his letter, 81
       Patrick, 163

     Sansovino, Jacopo, 394

     Saracenic architecture, 121, 177, 406

     Saxon architecture, Book II. ch. iii.

     Sculptured animals, their meaning, 72, 73

     Scuola di S. Giovanni Evangelista, 396

     Scuola di San Marco, 396, 399

     Sforza, Francesco, 365, 367, 420

     Sicily, the revival there, 126 _et seq._, 175, 406

     Siena cathedral, 224, 285 _et seq._

     Sixtus IV., pope, 261, 416

     Sixtus V., pope, 418

     Solari family, 395 _et seq._

     Solomon's knot, its meaning and origin, 72, 82, 243

     Spanish chapel, 278, 326

     Statutes of the Masonic Guild in Siena, 287, 291

     Steepleton church, Dorset, 149

     Stilicho the Goth, his tomb, 89

     Strasburg, Freemasons there, 137

     Symbolism of the Comacine Guild, 71 _et seq._

     Talenti, Francesco, 328 _et seq._

     "Tedesco," what the word means in architecture, 216, 218

     Theodata, her tomb at Pavia, 87

     Theodolinda, her marriages, 32 _et seq._;
       her churches, 37-40

     Theodosius, his laws on building in marble, 81

     Toller Fratrum, Dorset, 149

     Tomb of:
       Can della Scala, Verona, 203, 204, 252
       Cardinal Longhi degli Alessandri, 185
       S. Domenico, Bologna, 223
       Folchino de Schicci, 204
       Gian Galeazzo Visconti, 254
       Mastino II., dei Scaligeri, 253
       The Bishop of Siena, 301
       Theodoric at Ravenna, 218

     Tommaso de Mutina (Modena), 275

     Torcello, 73

     Torriano family of Milan, 385

     Toscanella, pulpit there, 89

     Towers, Comacine, their form, 67, 153;
       San Marco, Venice, 233;
       round towers of Ireland, 161 _et seq._;
       Pisa, 219, 220;
       Fiesole, 237

     Trent, its cathedral, 181 _et seq._

     Turrisianus of Pistoja, 230, 238

     Vatican, 414 _et seq._

     Vecchietta, 306

     Venice, 8, 113;
       its fifteenth-century restorations, 385 _et seq._, 397

     Verona fortified by Charlemagne, 106

     Visconti family, 349, 364, 373 _et seq._

     Vitale, 300

     Voltorre, its cloister, 115, 193

     Wenceslaus, king, 350

     Wilfrid, bishop of York, 150, 155

     William of Normandy, 123

     Winchester tower, 153

     Zambono, northern Italian for Giovanni Buono, 237

     Zohak, emblem of remorse, 79

     Zurich, the Gross Münster, 135


_Richard Clay & Sons Limited, London & Bungay._

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