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The term Gothic, as now used in relation to Art, has neither historical nor etymological significance. It is merely a convenient label, sanctioned by long use, for a mighty outpouring of the creative impulse in man, which developed and took shape in Western Europe during the twelfth century, crystallised to achieve its greatest triumphs during the thirteenth, and languished into decay during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Yet the label has the justification that only in countries swept by the Teutonic invasions, in which a Teutonic people built up a civilisation, did Gothic Art flourish; in Italy, where classical traditions persisted more strongly, it never found a permanent home. The influence of classical art upon Gothic is not indeed to be neglected. To some extent by direct contact, but mainly owing to filtration through Byzantine and Romanesque art, Greece and Rome gave a starting-point for the development of Gothic Art, and by their very decay had enriched the soil from which Gothic Art was to spring. But primarily it was the genius of the Northern peoples combined with influences from the East which gave birth to the first coherent and distinctive style in art which Western Europe had seen since the days of Rome.

This genius found its most complete and characteristic expression in architecture. It has been well said that the people of the Gothic age “had fallen in love with building”; and round their houses, their castles, their monasteries and convents, and above all their churches and cathedrals, centred their activity in the other arts. Not only did painting, sculpture, and the applied arts find their chief scope in the adornment of buildings, but articles of everyday use, psalters and books of hours, devotional and secular ivory carvings, jewellery, seals, furniture, even clothing, were in design or decoration mirrors of the architectural enthusiasm of the age. Consequently the character of Gothic architecture profoundly influenced activities in the other arts. With development of the pointed arch and the ribbed vault, the Gothic church and civic hall became virtually skeletons of stone, which unlike the basilicas of Italy gave small opportunity to the painter on walls, but unrivalled scope for the worker in stained and painted glass to fill the great spaces between the ribs of the structure. The castle of the great nobleman, and the house of the weal thy citizen, provided walls enough; but here lack of light discouraged the painter, and a cool climate made tapestry a more suitable method of decoration. So, apart from glass, Gothic painting found its best opportunities in decorating the service books of the Church and books of private devotions. Sculpture in the same way conformed to limitations set by architecture. The great portals of a Gothic church, and its facade, provided a magnificent field for decoration with sculpture, both in the round and in relief. But there was little room for the development of a free-standing figure-sculpture such as flourished in Greece and Rome; and the sculpture of a Gothic church was organised not only to a decorative end, but with a very definite doctrinal purpose, which practically forbade treatment of the nude. It is only with the decline of Gothic, and a divorce between architecture and sculpture, that free-standing sculpture of the nude emerges again.

The chief centre of this remarkable burst of artistic activity was the North of France, and in particular the tie de France; whence by the end of the thirteenth century influence radiated throughout Europe. But this influence varied greatly in extent. In countries such as Italy, with a Mediterranean population and a classic cultural inheritance, it was comparatively slight; and even in countries where it was profound, local conditions combined with it to create a local style. The standardising influence of the Church may easily be exaggerated, also that of the travelling artist. The work at any great church or monastery was often executed by an atelier staffed largely by natives of the district or permanent residents there, and the lay patron utilised local talent side by side with foreign employees. The local styles thus created were largely independent of political boundaries, the main determinants being race, local tradition, and geographical situation.

The main characteristics of Gothic are in clear contrast to those of the Romanesque which preceded it. In Romanesque, majestic forms of mingled classical and Byzantine origin combined with abstract decoration inspired from the East and North to express a mystical, subjective view of religion. By the thirteenth century, Western Christianity was hardening into an intellectual and dogmatic system, as finally expounded in the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas; and the analogous and corresponding change in art is the realism of Gothic. Both in his treatment of the human figure and of decorative details, the Gothic artist found his chief inspiration in nature. Definitely Northern types appear, with prominent foreheads and wavy blonde hair; drapery ceases to be treated as an arbitrary arrangement of folds, and is made to hang naturally from its point of support, expressing the movement of the figure beneath. Methods of representing biblical scenes or incidents with moral or religious significance were fixed within narrow limits by doctrine and custom. But in details the artist never hesitated to use material drawn from daily life to enrich and diversify ordained and established themes. Similarly, the decoration which enriched a great Gothic building, or the initials and borders of a manuscript, found new life and energy in the naturalistic life of plants, animals, and human beings.

But this naturalism extended, neither to scale nor to setting. Not until the early fifteenth century does the aim emerge of representing an event as it might actually have happened. This came about partly because the moral or doctrinal bearing of an event mattered more than historical accuracy, partly because the Gothic artist was primarily a decorator. In the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century, realism in scale and action were not suffered to disturb the structural harmony of a cathedral facade, nor to break up the decorative unity of the written page; and in its system of undulating curves, based upon the contour of forms and the swing of draperies, Gothic art revealed its inheritance not only from the geometric patterning of the North but from the arabesque of the East.

The two main characteristics of Gothic, realism in detail and decorative aim, became accentuated in its decline. During the fourteenth century, characterisation in figures becomes more marked, action more emphatic, realism more exaggerated. The inevitable loss of decorative unity the artist sought to overcome by developing decorative devices, such as pleating and folding draperies into arbitrary patterns, which became almost as much a formula as those of Byzantine art. At the same time, a romantic element perceptible in earlier work develops into search for picturesqueness, exaggeration for dramatic effect, and sentimentality.

In these characteristics Gothic art incorporates the ideas and ideals of its time. The intimate connexion of art with the revival of learning and the development of scholasticism in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries appears in the restraint and intellectual force which mark earlier work; while the growing spirit of romanticism and chivalry finds correspondence in the drama and sentiment of later phases. Changes in social organisation also find reflection. The view put forward by Victor Hugo, and enlarged upon by Viollet-le-Duc, that Gothic art embodies civic opposition to feudal and ecclesiastical authority, has no foundation in fact. But Gothic is primarily an art of the city, of a close-knit community with a sense of common interest and organised for common ends; of a society passionately interested in new ideas and vigorously critical of old forms and theories.

The individual artists through whose hands Gothic art took shape are for the most part unknown. The once popular idea of certain social reformers in the nineteenth century, that in some undefined way Gothic art was born of communal effort, has to yield before the growing evidence of strict professional organisation in the arts and of direction by individuals. But to connect the names of these with surviving work is randy possible, and so the artistic, personality of their owners remains obscure.

That in broad outlines and in many details the iconographical schemes of Gothic religious art were regulated by the Church, there can be no reasonable doubt. Their planning is too uniform, their subtlety and elaboration too great, their correspondence with writings of the lime too close, to imagine them devised by artists. The principle laid down by the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 still held, that “The composition of religious imagery is not left to the initiative of artists, but is formed upon principles laid down by the Catholic Church and by religious traditions”. How control was exercised is uncertain. Cases are known of special instructions, detailing the arrangement and treatment of subjects; and possibly manuals were provided for general purposes. On the other hand, artists had their own traditions; and a few examples survive of medieval pattern books, which would ensure in particular workshops adherence to definite types and methods of presentation. But that the regulation stifled or hampered the artist, there is little evidence. The variation possible between localities, permitting the incorporation of local traditions and legends, was considerable; and in decorative detail the artist threw aside the borrowed and traditional motives which formed the staple of Romanesque decoration, and based his work upon direct study of natural forms. But the artist’s freedom had a firmer foundation than this. The outward form of his work might be settled for him; but the animating spirit came from the artist alone, so that contemporary versions of the same subject, designed in the same way, may yet be quite distinct.

In sculpture, the first great manifestation of the Gothic style in France is the triple west portal of Chartres, which dates from between 1145 and 1170. Earliest are the nineteen great standing figures, representing the royal ancestors of the Virgin, which form a continuous band along the jambs of the doors. Byzantine and Romanesque influence appears in the hieratic rigidity of the figures, their frontal position, their symmetrical pose, and in the conventions of the drapery, elaborately arranged in parallel or radiating pleats, with sharply crumpled folds at the bottom. But these characteristics of an older style cannot conceal the life and individuality which mark the stirring of a new spirit. The Christ of the central tympanum, with his hand raised in blessing, adds to the statuesque majesty of Romanesque Art the naturalistic movement of Gothic, effectively expressed by the arrangement of his drapery.

Tendencies thus made manifest soon found more complete expression at Chartres itself. The almost contemporary development in the cult of the Virgin gave artists a wealth of new material; and since the cult was mainly fostered by the secular clergy in opposition to the monasteries, it favoured the supersession of the monastic atelier by the lay craft gild. It is therefore not surprising that representations of the Virgin and of incidents from her life should reflect very completely the growth of Gothic. The speed of that growth is witnessed by the central tympanum of the north portal at Chartres, dating from the first years of the thirteenth century, in which is represented the death and coronation of the Virgin.

The Virgin of Romanesque art, a remote, almost abstract figure, has gone; she has become a woman, though a woman crowned queen of heaven. Gone is the rigid frontality and symmetry of pose; the figure moves freely, with a slow dignified rhythm emphasised by the folds of the drapery. So it is with the lovely groups of the Annunciation and Visitation, on the jambs of the lateral doors. A columnar dignity still marks the figures; their features are still generalised and impassive; but the suggestion of adapted bas-relief, apparent in the Ancestors of the west portal, has disappeared, and the figures are conceived and executed in the round, while the dramatic significance of the scenes is fully expressed in the diffident joy of the younger woman, the calm confidence of St Anne, and the kindly majesty of the angel. This union of emotional expression and harmonious design is pushed still farther in the northern tympanum of the facade of Notre Dame at Paris, dating from the early thirteenth century, and in the south door of the west front of Amiens Cathedral, completed with the other two doors shortly after 1225. At Amiens the statues of the jambs differ notably from their predecessors at Chartres. They retain dignity and simplicity, with the columnar character which preserves their place in the structure of the building; but their treatment is more naturalistic, and characterisation is more emphasised. The Virgin of the different scenes is no mere repetition of the same type. Her timid joy in the Annunciation is replaced in the Visitation by sober consciousness of approaching maternity indicated by the change in her figure, and in the Presentation by the serenity of proud motherhood.

At Rheims, the influence of Chartres and Amiens is combined in the sculpture of the west portal, completed about the middle of the century. Here French Gothic sculpture attains a ripe maturity. The figures are less well related to the structure than in earlier work; already the artist has begun to think of his figures as separate creations, and not as part of a building. The Virgin of the Annunciation is sister to her of Amiens; but in the Angel is revealed a new strain in French art. Lifting his voluminous robe with a dainty gesture, he bends his elaborately coiffured head, to glance sideways at the Virgin with a half-ironic smile. He is among the latest of the great company of angels which surround Rheims; and in his vivacity, elegance, and self-possession embodies the spirit which was to destroy Gothic art, but was to give French eighteenth-century art its characteristic quality. The equally remarkable group of the Visitation in sentiment and treatment is singularly close to early Hellenistic work; and its sophistication has even provoked attribution to an eighteenth century hand. It does not stand alone at Rheims; and with other figures raises a presumption of direct influence from antique art, which the numerous fragments of antique sculpture found in east and north-east France make reasonable, though the possibility of parallel growth cannot be excluded.

The development traced above is typical. To the Christ in Judgment of the Chartres west portal succeeds the figure on the central door of the Amiens west front, the famous “Beau Dieu,” in which remoteness and austerity is replaced by human feeling and tenderness. Similarly, the Virgin of the central door at Rheims is a great lady, somewhat mincing and affected in pose, not greatly interested in the child she holds; while the famous “Vierge Dorée” of the south transept door at Amiens, executed about 1288, is a girl smiling coquettishly and extending her forefinger as much to attract the passer-by as to amuse her baby.

Sculpture in England and Germany followed a similar course to that in the Île de France, though local influences and traditions produced characteristic differences. In the earlier Gothic cathedrals of southern and eastern England and the great abbeys of the north, where Cistercian influence was especially powerful, sculpture was used sparingly, rather as emphasis on constructional lines and points than as decoration; and when, as in the nave of Lincoln and the choir of Ely, there is rich carving, it is rarely of the figure. In the west, however, an older tradition of more luxuriant decoration persisted, and flourished, notably at Wells. Even when sculpture later found more scope, little comparable to the portals of the French cathedrals was produced. The English aim was rather to treat the western front as a great screen with niches on which sculpture was displayed, though only at Wells, Lincoln, and Exeter was that aim realised with any completeness. Elsewhere, as at Peterborough, Salisbury, Lichfield, and York, great arcades, doorways, and windows were obstacles. There were, however, opportunities for the sculptor in other parts of the building. Heads carved to serve as string stops or as corbels were much used in England, though rarely on the Continent; and relief carvings in the spandrils of arches, such as the angels at Westminster and Lincoln, are distinctively English. The angels in the transept of Westminster, executed between 1250 and 1255, stand with one wing displayed, the other furled, swinging censers. Admirably designed to fill the space they occupy, with a flowing rhythm of forms in harmony with that of the architecture, they reveal a grace of personality and a lyrical charm rivalling those of the famous figures which give the Angel Choir at Lincoln its name, and putting them among the finest of medieval works of art. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the increasing use of panels and tracery on the larger surfaces of the buildings continued to limit the field for the figure sculptor, who found occupation in the alabaster retables of the fifteenth century, the angel carvings which mark the ends and bosses of roofs, and the elaborate wood carving of misericords and bench ends.

The stylistic development of English Gothic sculpture is similar to that of France, though the work at any given period in the two countries is often markedly different. In the treatment of the head, English sculptors of the thirteenth century attained mastery earlier than those of the Continent, while in ability to express the structure and movement of the human body they are inferior to their contemporaries in France. The thirteenth-century figures at Wells are less accomplished, more naive, and less majestic than those of Amiens or Rheims; though they possess a tender and intimate quality, lyric rather than dramatic, which is peculiarly English. They escaped the direct French influence, which appears in the thirteenth-century sculpture of Westminster, was transmitted to Lincoln, and perhaps lies behind the statuesque, severe figures of the Lincoln Judgment Porch. In the earlier part of the fourteenth century, York became the centre of a Northern School, whose work has affinities to German sculpture at Bamberg and Naumburg; a London School, from which the sculpture of the Eleanor Crosses probably came, exemplifies growing French influence; in the west, the lower tiers of figures on the facade of Exeter Cathedral carry on the tradition of Wells. All exemplify the tendency of the age towards dramatic emphasis and decorative mannerisms. After the Black Death and the ruinously expensive wars of Edward III local characteristics became merged in a uniform and mannered style mainly derived from abroad, which culminates in the figures of Henry VIPs Chapel at Westminster. These though executed about 1510, when the art of Renaissance Italy was flooding Europe, are still Gothic in feeling. But they are less sculptural than pictorial and descriptive; and the note of realistic genre which they strike is far removed from the gracious dignity of earlier work.

In Germany, as in England, the earlier sculpture falls into groups which embody different local traditions; but, more quickly and more generally than in England, these traditions were modified by French influence, mainly in proportion to the nearness of different areas to France. In the Carolingian period, the metal workers of North Germany had been famous, and such masterpieces as the baptismal font of Hildesheim witness the persistence of their technical skill into the Gothic period. In stone, however, it was not until the middle of the thirteenth century that anything so accomplished was made. The twelfth-century sculpture of the Rhine valley mainly repeated motives from the remains of Roman sculpture, and from manuscripts or ivories; and it was in Saxony and the adjacent regions extending up to the Harz Mountains that the new style definitely appears. Typical are the stucco bas-reliefs of the choir enclosure of St Michael’s Church at Hildesheim, representing the Virgin and Child with the Apostles and dating from the end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century. The figures preserve a Romanesque dignity, and Romanesque conventions in their drapery; but there is a vivacity and variety of movement which is Gothic. Intermediate between such work as this and fully developed German Gothic, is the sculpture of the Golden door at Freiburg and of the north porch at Magdeburg, both executed c. 1230 to 1240. In these the figures are more elegant, the drapery more flowing and responsive to movement. At Freiburg, mingled with motives apparently derived from Chartres and Rheims, are Germanic types of head; at Magdeburg, the exaggerated attitudes and facial expressions of the Wise and Foolish Virgins reveal the sentimentality which was later to be a dominant note in German art. In its maturity at Bamberg and Naumburg German Gothic was influenced from France, and especially from Rheims, primarily through the visits of German craftsmen to France. The six famous figures (c. 1250) on the embrasures of the south door at Bamberg are a case in point; though for the grace and dignity of the French work are substituted an almost farouche quality and a suppressed energy, which give them distinct character. At Naumburg, twelve standing figures of benefactors of the church have a massive dignity, unspoiled by extravagance of gesture or needless elaboration of drapery, though each figure has its independent and unstudied pose and is vigorously characterised. The powers which made Holbein great are here revealed in another medium. A Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John, which is on the screen separating nave from choir, foreshadows another great German painter. The heads of the St John and the Virgin are bent, their bodies are twisted, their features are contorted, their hands clutch their robes in an agony of grief. There is the same abandonment to dramatic emphasis which marks the work of Matthias Grunewald.

In the Rhine district, French influence becomes still more evident, notably at Strasbourg, where the earlier work is modelled on that of Chartres, though the later figures of the western facade are more Germanic in character. That towards the end of the thirteenth century French influence in the Rhine district was waning appears also from a Last Judgment in the portal of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, executed between 1273 and 1316. The short figures with large heads, for which the local peasantry were apparently the models, are extravagantly realistic; the treatment is dramatic or anecdotal by turns; breadth and unity of design are lost in vivacity and variety of detail and incident and in emphatic contrasts of light and shade. These characteristics mark contemporary German sculpture in other areas, and dominate it during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as exemplified in the popular anecdotal carvings which decorate the Nuremberg churches.

The work of the Gothic sculptor was not, however, limited to the decoration of buildings. With the relaxation in the thirteenth century of the rule against the burial of lay persons in churches, tomb effigies in metal or stone became common throughout Northern Europe, especially in England. These were either laid flat or placed against the walls. The earlier examples consist of slabs engraved, sculptured, or decorated with mosaic; later, the tomb was treated as a sarcophagus or cenotaph, surmounted by a figure of the deceased. In thirteenth-century effigies, there is little, if any, attempt at portraiture, and the drapery is treated as though the figure were standing upright, the majority of the folds running parallel to the length of the body. In the fourteenth century, however, individual character appears in the heads, and the drapery falls more naturally over the body. Only in rare cases, indeed, can the effigies be assumed to be portraits. In England especially, they were more probably conventional types manufactured in large workshops and sent all over the country. Related in character to these tomb effigies are the rare equestrian monuments of the period. Here Germany was supreme, the so-called Conrad III (more probably St Stephen of Hungary) in Bamberg cathedral and Otto the Great in the market-place at Magdeburg being worthy forerunners of the great equestrian figures of the Italian Renaissance. Another sphere of activity for the sculptor was the production of carvings in ivory or bone. Great activity up to the twelfth century had been succeeded by a cessation of production in Western Europe, perhaps due to failure in the supply of the material. Late in the thirteenth century came a revival, followed by a prodigious output, with France as the main centre. In the earlier period the subjects were mainly religious. The cult of the Virgin caused statuettes of the Virgin and Child to become popular; in diptychs, scenes from the Passion were frequently represented. In the fourteenth century, with the spread of the Romantic movement, secular ivories appear, notably circular mirror cases, and boxes carved with scenes of love and chivalry or incidents from romances. For the most part the ivories are the work of craftsmen rather than independent artists, and draw their inspiration either from large scale sculpture or from illuminated manuscripts to whose stylistic development they conform, proceeding from simplicity, dignity, and restraint to complexity, elegance, and anecdotal exuberance. The ease with which they could be transported made them a powerful agency in spreading French influence over Western Europe, and in particular of enabling it to affect the development of Italian sculpture. In England, ivory was comparatively little used, and the characteristic English petite sculpture is the alabaster relief of the later fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. These are mainly workshop productions of small artistic value; but they were exported in considerable numbers, and played some part in establishing English influence in the lower Rhine valley, whose art in the late fourteenth century was to some extent founded on English example.

It should be clearly realised that Gothic sculpture was not only an art of form. There is ample evidence, from the sculpture itself and from literary sources, that colour and gilding were freely employed. Traces still survive in monumental sculpture of red, green, blue, and yellow draperies picked out or diapered with white, black, and gold, set against blue or red backgrounds; sepulchral effigies keep the remains of realistic colour; and a few ivory carvings survive with much of their original colour and gilding intact. Such material as this is an essential element in trying to reconstruct the appearance of a great Gothic building in the first flush of its beauty. Colour, indeed, was an essential and integral part of Gothic art. The work of the architect, no less than that of the sculptor, was completed by the painter. Mouldings were picked out; geometrical and floral patterns surrounded arches and filled their soffits; vaults might carry medallions, linked by flowing tracery; walls were diapered with a variety of designs in many colours. The Gothic painter, however, was more than an adjunct to sculptor and architect. In the painting of windows, in figure subjects on walls, in the illumination of manuscripts, and in panels for altarpieces, stalls, and screens, he had a field for independent work. The relative importance of each type of painting differed according to place and period. The main determinant was the extent to which the Gothic church became a stone skeleton which formed a setting for stained glass, so depriving the painter of wall space, creating a formidable competitor with his work on panel, and encouraging him to turn to manuscript illumination or to glass painting. Thus, the manuscript and stained glass play a far more important part in the painting of North Europe than in that of Italy, where small windows were the rule. But whatever the relative importance of the various types of painting in Northern Europe, their stylistic development was similar. This was partly because they sometimes came from the same workshop; partly because they were all, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, subject to ideas and conceptions derived from architecture; and partly because of their influence on each other. The interdependence of the different types of painting appears from the use, in mural work, of emphatic outlines and masses of strong colour, which were necessary if it was not to be eclipsed by the bold design and vivid hues of medieval glass; and in manuscripts of the thirteenth century, in the arrangement of figures within medallions, as in windows, set against gold backgrounds. In reply, the illuminator of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries sometimes supplied designs to the painter in glass, wall, and panel. Finally, in the fifteenth century, when the painter had shaken off the dominating influence of architecture, the panel painting comes into prominence, and is imitated in windows and in manuscript miniatures.

The development of painting on glass was largely dependent on technical considerations. Medieval windows were made of pot metal, i.e. glass coloured in the course of its manufacture. This was cut into appropriate shapes, in which the artist put in details and modelling with opaque enamel. The pieces were then bound together by grooved lead binding and fixed in position by the help of an iron armature. This method forbade the subtleties attained in the sixteenth century by the use of transparent enamel on clear glass, but was the source of the brilliancy and jewel-like quality of medieval work. The arrangement of the windows in a great medieval church, like that of the sculpture, generally conformed to a settled plan, at the east end being represented the Life and Passion of Christ, on the north the foreshadowing of the Word in the Old Testament, on the south its fulfilment in the Apostles and Saints. In very early glass, such as certain windows at Le Mans (c. 1090), the figures are large compared with the size of the window, and are definitely Byzantine in character. The typical thirteenth-century window, such as those in the choir at Chartres, consists of medallions of varying forms, each containing an incident or figure, the intervening spaces being filled with floral or geometrical designs. Windows containing single figures also occur, chiefly in clerestories where it was desired to admit as much light as possible. In the earlier thirteenth century, white glass was little used, the usual colours being crimson and blue, picked out by smaller pieces of green and yellow. The drawing of the small figures of the medallion windows is more naturalistic and vivacious than in earlier work, but is still controlled by the character of the material; and in the larger figures Byzantine reminiscences persist. Similarly in the ornament, the remote influence of classical antiquity appears in the floral forms used. Later in the thirteenth century, despite the development of the mullioned and traceried window, the use of medallions continued in France, though in England they were in places superseded by the “white windows,” touched here and there with colour, such as the famous Five Sisters at York. By the end of the century definitely new types of window were appearing in both countries. The enlargement of bays encouraged the use of large areas of grisaille glass, plain or patterned. One form of these, popular in England, was the outcome of greater realism in the treatment of ornament. Plant forms were freely adapted and copied to make running patterns; and with double lines painted to emphasize the leading, the appearance was given of plants growing on a trellis, whence the windows have been called trellis windows. More usually, into the grisaille background was inserted a coloured medallion or figure, and these in windows with several lights formed a belt of colour across the window, giving rise to the name belt windows. In another type, the light was filled by a figure beneath a canopy, and as the lights of windows became longer, the canopies became higher and more elaborate. A variant which first appeared on the Continent was the triptych window, in which the chief subject occupied the three middle lights under one canopy, and was flanked by smaller designs; a development which was succeeded in the fifteenth century by the extension of the canopy over several subjects, or by a single subject occupying the whole window without a canopy. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, also, technical discoveries increased the translucency of the glass, though diminishing its brilliance of colour. Meanwhile, the treatment of figures and incidents became more realistic. Features and drapery are more fully modelled, poise and movement more studied. The glass painter was approaching the outlook and technique of the panel painter, and only awaited the invention of transparent enamel painting to seek to rival him.

The development of mural and panel painting in Northern Europe is so closely connected with that of manuscript illumination that the two are best considered together. In painting, unlike sculpture, England disputed with France for leadership in achievement and influence; and at times the productions of the two countries are so closely related as to justify their being regarded as an English Channel school. In English ecclesiastical buildings of the thirteenth century, the competition of stained glass was less severe than in France, and the wall space available for the painter greater. The development of mural painting was further assisted by a well-established tradition in the illumination of manuscripts. After the Norman conquest the Saxon style was replaced by one more heavy and splendid, with richer colour and more emphatic outlines, which peculiarly lent itself to adaptation by mural painters. Such masterpieces as the Great Bible executed in the twelfth century at Winchester evidently provided inspiration to the painter of the Descent from the Cross and other scenes from the Passion on the walls of the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre in Winchester Cathedral, executed about 1230. It was, however, in the Eastern Counties and in London that English Gothic painting was chiefly to flourish. In the early thirteenth century, a new wave of later Byzantine influence reached Western Europe, probably as a result of the Fourth Crusade, and stimulated a tendency to replace agitated movement and grotesque conventions by simpler and more naturalistic treatment. This found expression in the work executed at the greatest artistic centre of the time in Western Europe, St Albans. Here was active Matthew Paris, from whose hand perhaps came the admirable drawings in outline occasionally tinted with colour which illustrate his Chronica Maiora (in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge) and his Historia Anglorum (1250-59) and Collections in the British Museum. The last contains a drawing of the Virgin and Child, in which a dignity inherited from the Romanesque is tempered by human feeling and grace of draughtsmanship; making it a worthy forerunner of the lovely Virgin and Child on the wall of the Bishops’ Chapel at Chichester, where almost for the first time in Northern art the Mother of God becomes also the Mother of Man. The sensitive and expressive use of outline in these paintings is characteristic of English work, and appears also in contemporary manuscripts such as those of William de Brailes, one of the few illuminators of the day whose name is known. During this period, the first half of the thirteenth century, English influence abroad was considerable. Peculiarly English are a group of bestiaries, which gave a stimulus to the study of nature in detail, and so hastened the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. Another group of manuscripts illustrating the Apocalypse served as patterns throughout Europe for treatment of the subject; and in Scandinavia, a school of painting on panel arose, which was virtually an outlying part of the schools of Peterborough and St Albans.

In France, meanwhile, painting had taken a somewhat different course. Mural decoration, common in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, during the thirteenth century still appears in districts such as the South-West and South where the use of arch and vault did not attain full development, but usually retained Romanesque-Byzantine character. In the Île de France, it was limited to the emphasis and enrichment of architectural features or to the introduction of small figure-subjects into the spandrils of arches or on the surface of vaults, as in the Sainte-Chapelle and at Petit-Quevilly, where roundels enclosing scenes from the early life of Christ imitate stained glass. Panel painting was little practised; and consequently even more than in England the earlier history of French medieval painting chiefly centres round the illuminated manuscript. Basing themselves at first on imitation of the stained glass window for the design of their page, and on English example for the treatment of the figure, the French illuminators in the course of the thirteenth century developed an originality and skill which produced those exquisite works of art which inspired Dante to speak of “l’onor di quel’ arte Ch’alluminar è chiamata in Parigi.” Among the causes of this advance were the expansion of the University of Paris, which greatly increased the demand for the services of writers and illuminators and encouraged the rise of the workshop staffed by professional lay artists, and the patronage of painters by members of the royal house, especially by St Louis himself. For him and for his sister Isabelle were produced, among other manuscripts, two psalters, one in the Bibliothéque Nationale, the other in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. In these, the influence of architecture has replaced that of the stained glass window in the design of the page. Gothic porticos, whose delicate tracery and mouldings recall those of the Sainte-Chapelle, enclose the figures. Backgrounds of plain gold are replaced by geometric patterns or arabesques; the colours are more delicate and varied than in earlier work; the drawing is more supple and expressive, the figures more elegant, and the realism in detail greater. Thus were laid the foundations of a style, ultimately to extend its influence throughout Europe, and to lie at the root of an international Gothic style which attained full development at the end of the fourteenth century, and whose essential elements were search for decorative effect combined with vivid narration and realism in detail.

In its earlier phase, this style exercised considerable influence in England, where the decline of Winchester and St Albans saw the rise of Westminster as the chief centre of the arts, under the inspiration and control of Henry III. The palace there, with its decorations, has disappeared, but the Abbey still stands as a living monument to the art of his age. To Henry’s court came craftsmen from all over Europe. The king’s relations with St Louis were especially close; and so nearly do the styles of Westminster and Paris come together at certain points that the provenance is still doubtful of the famous retable in Westminster Abbey, one of the chief monuments of the age. Recent researches tilt the balance in favour of French origin and make the retable a starting-point of French influence in England. The chief work of Henry’s reign which was undoubtedly of English origin was the decoration of the Painted Chamber in the Palace, first carried out by “The King's beloved Master William, monk of Westminster,” as the Close Rolls of 1256 describe him. A fire in 1262 damaged his work, and there is no record of his being employed in the repainting. But probably his designs were retained, and are those known to us by copies made in the early nineteenth century before the Palace was burnt in 1834. From these it appears that they were painted with six tiers of warlike episodes from the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, above a dado painted to represent a green curtain, and separated by white bands with black inscriptions. Over the fireplace appeared the Labours of the Months, in the jambs of the windows the Virtues and Vices, and dominating the whole was a great painting of the Coronation of Edward the Confessor. During the reign of Henry also were made at Chertsey Abbey the tiles which pave the floor of the Chapter House at Westminster. Their decoration with hunting scenes and incidents from romantic stories, such as that of Tristram and Iseult, marks the rise of the secular subject, parallel with the displacement of the monastic studio by the secular craftsman of the gilds. Surviving paintings in the Abbey belong to the end of the century. Among these are the figure of St Faith in the Revestry, the figures of two kings on the choir stalls, and an Annunciation on the back of the stalls, all marked by a freedom and swing in draughtsmanship closely akin to contemporary French work. The last great enterprise of the Westminster School was the decoration of St Stephen’s Chapel, built by Edward HI, begun by Hugh of St Albans and finished by William of Walsingham. The Chapel was burnt in 1834, but copies made by Smirke and some fragments in the British Museum indicate the character of the paintings. They include representations of Edward III and Philippa, with their sons and daughters; with incidents from the Old and New Testaments, in which the descriptive and narrative elements triumphed over the monumental and decorative.

By the side of the Westminster painters, and in some measure influenced by them, flourished a great school of manuscript illumination. The delicate and graceful precision of the drawing in the late thirteenth century Tenison psalter in the British Museum, and in the Windmill psalter of the Pierpont Morgan collection, is in the full English tradition, whence derives also the early fourteenth-century Queen Maty's psalter in the British Museum, the masterpiece of a well-defined group. In this, below the tinted miniature is a series of marginal illustrations: a running commentary on the life and thought of the time, serious, satiric, fantastic, and humorous by turns, which reached its fullest development in England, and is a forerunner of English caricature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By itself stands the psalter of Robert de Lisle in the British Museum, whose magnificently dignified miniatures suggest connexion with the School of Westminster and the inspiration, if not the hand, of a mural painter. That the Eastern Counties had become, by the early fourteenth century, a great artistic centre is witnessed not only by a notable group of wall paintings in Northamptonshire, but by a magnificent series of psalters, among the finest being the Gorleston psalter of the Dyson Perrins collection, marked by bold and expressive figure drawing and by extraordinarily rich decoration, especially in the borders of foliage crowded with grotesques, heraldic shields, and portrait heads. The margins of the Louterell psalter in the British Museum, latest of the group, are an invaluable source of knowledge concerning contemporary manners; but technical dexterity has corrupted taste and imagination.

This outburst of activity saw not only complete assimilation of French influence, but reassertion of English influence abroad. The political connexions of Edward III favoured the export of English manuscripts, embroidery, and carvings to the Rhineland, where fourteenth-century art took on a markedly English cast; while in Paris in the early fourteenth century a number of English illuminators were active, whose influence was sufficiently strong almost to bring English and French illumination together into a single school. Such fine manuscripts from the School of Paris as the Breviary of Philip the Fair, written before 1297, and tentatively associated with the name of Honoré, a leading painter of the period; a religious treatise known as the Saint Abbaye, in the British Museum, written and decorated about 1300; and a Life and Miracles of St Denis, in the Arsenal Library, written about 1317, with genre scenes from daily life in Paris freely introduced, all reveal English influence in the elaboration of ornament, the use at times of figures and grotesques in the borders, the attitudes and gestures of the figures, and the treatment of drapery. This influence also appears, though less obviously, in a group of manuscripts from Lorraine, among them the splendid Metz Pontifical in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. Shortly, however, the two schools fell apart. In England, the wars of Edward III drained the country of men and money, and, with the Black Death, dried up the springs of creative activity and patronage. Painting thenceforward became a provincial and derivative art, and France became the main centre of activity in Northern Europe.

To France, on top of English influence, had come direct influence from Italy, partly through Italians such as Filippo Rusuti employed by Philip the Fair, mainly through Italian artists working at Avignon. From 1339 until his death in 1344 Simone Martini, one of the greatest painters of the Sienese School, was settled there; under Clement VI, Matteo da Viterbo, a painter influenced from and perhaps trained at Siena, decorated various chapels in the Papal Palace, assisted by other Italians, Frenchmen, and a German; and the chapel of the monastery at Villeneuve-les-Avignon, founded by Innocent VI in 1356, was decorated by painters of the same circle. This Sienese influence found congenial soil on which to work, since Sienese painting itself owed much to French Gothic of an earlier period, and so brought to France methods and ideas which were readily acceptable.

Despite restriction of opportunity, the mural painter in France continued to be active, chiefly in the feudal castle, where wall space still remained for the painted decoration which preceded the tapestries of a later and more luxurious age. Generally, figure subjects occupied the upper part of the wall, a painted representation of a curtain the lower, as in the Painted Chamber at Westminster. Surviving examples are crude, but effective, combinations of bold outline and simple vivid colour, and usually represent some scene of chivalry or romance. In Provence, Languedoc, and the Auvergne, the architectural style permitted also the decoration of churches, and here Sienese influence at once made itself felt in the compositions, the types, and the colour. Of greater importance is Sienese influence on the School of Paris. Head of a large studio there was Jean Pucelle, the first French painter to emerge with a recognisable artistic personality. The first mention of him is in 1319; in 1327, assisted by other artists, he decorated a Latin bible, copied by Robert de Billyng (Bibliothéque Nationale Lat. 11935); and a marginal note in the Belleville Breviary in the Bibliothéque Nationale (Lat. 10483-4) records that he directed the work on that manuscript. About 1350 his activity appears to have ended. In the work associated with him, compared with that of the previous generation, the figures are more slender and elegant, the ornament more intricate and varied, with the aim of enriching the decorative effect of the page. At the same time an increased desire for realism appears in the attempt to use light and shade both to give solidity to objects and to create a feeling of space. The results are as a rule unconvincing, but they are an early sign in Northern Gothic art of a breach with decorative conventions, which was to produce remarkable results in fifteenth-century Flemish painting. Apart from the character of these changes, the work of the Pucelle school contains definite evidence of contact with Italy. The architectural backgrounds of their miniatures have Italian features, and in the rare landscape backgrounds rocks and hills occasionally are introduced which are evidently imitated from Italian painters.

The arts in France owed much to encouragement from the House of Valois, which reached its culmination in the lavish patronage bestowed by Charles V and by his brothers Louis of Anjou, Philip of Burgundy, and John of Berry. Artists were attracted to their courts from many parts of Europe. With the traditions of French illumination mingled to an increasing extent ideas and methods derived from Flanders, Italy, and Germany, until among the welter of influences a new style was born, which in its developed form was to change the face of painting in Northern Europe and exercise a powerful influence in Italy. But despite the immense activity of the period, only a few panel paintings, a score or so of illuminated manuscripts, and a few pieces of sculpture and tapestry survive. From these, the transitional character of the age appears. A conspicuous example of older ideas and methods is the “Parement de Narbonne,” painted between 1374 and 1378, discovered in Narbonne in the early nineteenth century and now in the Louvre. In the treatment of the Crucifixion and the scenes from the Passion which form its main themes it descends direct from the School of Pucelle; but in the realistic treatment of the heads of Charles V and his queen is a hint of future change. Compared with the Parement Master, Jean de Bandol, sometimes called Jean de Bruges, is an innovator. In 1371 he painted a frontispiece to a bible now in the Meerman-Westreenen Museum at the Hague, in which Charles V is represented receiving from the hands of one Jean de Vaudetar the book for which the miniature was made. Despite the small scale, the portraits are almost brutally realistic, and the bold simplified modelling of the figures and drapery contrasts oddly with the conventional patterning of the floor and of the flat background.

To a later generation belong Andre Beauneveu and Jacquemart de Hesdin, both probably natives of the Franco-Flemish border, who found their chief employment under the Duke of Berry. Beauneveu first appears as a sculptor, and in 1365 was employed in making effigies for the tombs in St Denis, of some but not outstanding merit. Of greater interest is the one piece of painting which can be attributed to him with reasonable certainty, twenty-four pages of a Latin and French Psalter now in the Bibliothéque Nationale (Lat. 13091), on which are represented twelve prophets and twelve apostles. The little pictures reveal all the miniaturist conventions of the time, but that they are executed by a sculptor accustomed to work on a larger scale is suggested by the solidity of the figures and the attempt at monumental quality. In contrast, also, to the work of illuminators, is the realistic treatment of the heads, and especially the vivacity of the eyes. By Jacquemart de Hesdin and his assistants are the miniatures in the Grandes Heures of the Duke of Berry, in the Bibliothéque Nationale (Lat. 919), more directly in descent from the School of Pucelle than the work of Beauneveu, but with some breaking away from convention in the characterisation of the heads and in the realism of the settings.

More decisive evidence that the leaven of new ideas was working appears in a group of panel paintings made for Philip of Burgundy. An example is the wings of an altarpiece painted in 1392 for the abbey of Champmol by Melchior Broederlam of Ypres, which is now in the Dijon Museum. The slender figures and flowing draperies are in the old tradition; but there is novelty in the treatment of the scenes as historical events and their placing in realistic surroundings of an Italian type, in which there is a definite attempt at study from nature. Changing aims found more definite expression in the famous Très Riches Heures now at Chantilly, the last manuscript ordered by the Duke of Berry, and left unfinished at his death in 1416. The painters employed by the duke were one Pol de Limbourg and his brothers, who were responsible for more than half the miniatures. Of these, some are purely in the French tradition. A magnificent example is a Coronation of the Virgin, in which the slender, graceful figures of Christ and the Virgin with their attendant saints and angels are woven into a sweeping linear design, formed in the shape of an S and made the basis of a lovely pattern in colour, wherein massed blue and gold contrast with yellow, lilac, and scarlet. In contrast is a group of miniatures in which the main inspiration is Italian, one of them actually copying the design of the Presentation of the Virgin by Taddeo Gaddi in Santa Croce at Florence. In these, the solidity of the figures, feeling for space, and realism in setting are greater than in purely French work. But the fame of the book chiefly rests on a series of miniatures with landscape backgrounds, representing views of Paris, of Bourges, and of various castles belonging to the Duke of Berry. The majority of these, and the finest, decorate the Calendar, preceding the Hours proper. Most remarkable of all is the December picture of a boar hunt. In the foreground dogs attack the fallen boar, against a background formed by the forest of Vincennes with the castle rising behind it. The drawing of the dogs, as they strain and tear at their quarry, is singularly accurate and expressive of action; and the tracery of bare boughs in the forest, faintly seen through the lingering autumn-tinted foliage, is painted with exquisite delicacy. In this series of views, naturalistic landscape makes virtually its first appearance in European art. Yet for all the keenness in observation and the accuracy of record, the naturalism is in detail only and the parts do not build up into a visual whole. Nevertheless, the Très Riches Heures exercised considerable influence; and the compromise between realism and decoration there established was especially useful to Flemish miniature painters at the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth centuries. For example, the makers of the great Grimani Breviary, now in the library of St Mark’s at Venice, paid the Très Riches Heures the tribute of practically reproducing many of its miniatures.

Painting east of the Rhine had meanwhile taken a similar course to that in France and England. But the transition from Romanesque to Gothic came considerably later than in those countries and was primarily due to direct influence from foreign sources. Change at the end of the twelfth century took the form of renewed imitation of Byzantine models, stimulated by the close connexion of the Empire with Italy. This Byzantine revival was most marked and persistent in Saxony; and in West and South Germany about the middle of the century it began to yield to the influence of French Gothic. The effects of this, however, were delayed by the fact that in thirteenth-century Germany the illumination of service books and books of hours, for which French models were plentiful, was rare compared with the illustration of chronicles, law books, novels, and poems, of which French examples were less usual. Thus, by the end of the thirteenth century, painting in Germany was represented by two types of manuscript. In religious works, French influence was paramount; in secular works, a native instinct to illustrate rather than decorate found freer expression, and a native love of exaggerated realism found full scope.

Full development of the Gothic style was attained in the later fourteenth century, the main centres being Bohemia and the lower Rhine Valley. In Bohemia artistic activity owed much to the patronage of the royal house, which reached its height during the reigns of the Emperor Charles IV and his successor Wenceslas. The transition in the earlier part of the fourteenth century, from a style based on Byzantine example to one derived from imitation of French and Italian work, is revealed in a small group of panel paintings, conspicuous among which is a Coronation of the Virgin at Klosterneuburg near Vienna, painted between 1322 and 1329. In its linear emphasis and neglect of considerations of scale, the painting gives the impression of an enlarged miniature; and these characteristics, with the facial types and drapery treatment, relate it to the work of the early fourteenth-century school of Paris. The main lines of the composition, however, and the architectural detail come from Italy, possibly directly, perhaps through Paris or Avignon. Under Charles IV, political circumstances increased the strength of foreign influences. Owing to his Luxemburg possessions, Charles spent a large part of his time in the Rhineland, and was in touch with the French Court and with England; while his relations with the Papacy at Avignon and with Italy were frequent. Thus, the school which centred in Prague was increasingly assimilated to those of Northern France, England, and the Rhine Valley, and came to form an outpost of the international Gothic style. In work of the early years of Charles’ reign, Northern and Italian borrowings play an equal part; later, Italian influence declined compared with that of Northern France. An outstanding example is a group of panels of scenes from the Passion in the Rudolfinum at Prague, painted late in the fourteenth century by the Meister von Witlingau. In these, insistence on contour has been replaced by more sculpturesque treatment, and flat patterning by an effort to express space. The slim figures, with their long, slender hands and feet, have taken on an exaggerated elegance which verges on the fantastic, and there is a movement towards realism and dramatic expression similar to that seen in the painters of the Franco-Flemish school. Complete assimilation of the French style, in a formalised and exaggerated form which gives it local character, came during the reign of Wenceslas, and is exemplified in two bibles, one produced for Wenceslas himself and now in the Vienna Library, the other for Conrad de Weckta in the Plantin Museum at Antwerp. The first of these, in richness of ornament and variety of illustration, is almost unsurpassed in European art. Into borders of luxuriant and elaborately intertwined foliage arc* introduced animals, figures, grotesques, and coats of arms, bewildering in their variety. Each initial letter encloses one or more miniatures, the first letter of Genesis containing over thirty, in which, and in the full-page illustrations, there is a lively mixture of realism, fantasy, and drama. The bible is the work of several hands, of unequal merit; but everywhere there is a straining after effect, an elegance become almost ludicrous, and a sentiment both melodramatic and affected, marks of an art almost entirely derivative and academic.

In the lower Rhine valley, by the beginning of the fourteenth century, French influence had almost entirely replaced that of Byzantium. This is evident not only from manuscripts but from mural paintings, such as those in St Cecilia at Cologne. Within a few years, however, the strengthening of political and economic connexions with England brought with it the influence of English art, exercised through manuscripts and embroideries at first, and later through monumental brasses and alabaster carvings. This appears in two groups of work, one including the wall paintings in St Andreas at Cologne, and panels in the Cologne and Berlin Galleries; the other, later in date, consisting of the series of paintings over the stalls in Cologne Cathedral, finished after 1322. Both groups were evidently based on paintings in manuscripts. This is particularly clear in the wall paintings, where the division into tiers and compartments, and the use of decorated bands or architectural canopies to separate them, reproduces the practice of illuminators, and parallels the practice of workers in stained glass. Closer examination makes it highly probable that the source of the borrowings was English work. The compositions, the types, the proportions of the figures, the drapery treatment, even the decorative detail, are closely related to those of such English work as the Robert de Lisle Psalter, the Gorleston Psalter, and Queen Mary’s Psalter. Similar dependence on English example appears in the case of manuscripts, a notable example being the illustrations to the epic poem Willehalm by Wolfram von Eschenbach, written in 1334 for Landgrave Henry of Hesse.

In the second half of the fourteenth century, this English phase of Cologne painting was succeeded by one of assimilation towards the international Gothic style of the late fourteenth century, with retention of a very distinct local character. During the fourteenth century in the Rhine valley, Eckehart, Tauler, and others were preaching the renunciation of the world and the attainment of salvation for the individual soul by direct communion with Christ, through meditation upon His Life and Passion. The necessary spiritual state might be encouraged by the contemplation of works of art; and so the artist was definitely encouraged to develop the mystical aspect of his work. Thus was bred the lyrical and idyllic quality in Cologne art-which marks its crowning achievement in the fourteenth century, the altarpiece of St Clara, which came from the convent dedicated to that saint, and is now in Cologne Cathedral. A central tabernacle to hold the Host is decorated with sculpture, and has double wings painted with scenes from the early life of Christ and from the Passion. It used to be customary to ascribe these paintings to the half-legendary Master Wilhelm of Cologne; but they are certainly by two hands of different date, neither of which can be identified, the earlier one reflecting the influence of English art, the other of Franco-Flemish work.

In Northern Germany there is no steady and continuous development traceable in the art of painting during the fourteenth century. But in the later years of the century, there was an outburst of sporadic activity, which produced a considerable mass of work allied in type to that of contemporary Franco-Flemish, Cologne, and Bohemian painters. At Hamburg, the work of Meister Bertram, exemplified by a panel in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is characteristically German in its vivacious narration and coarse realism. At Soest, the leading figure in a considerable school was Meister Conrad, whose altarpiece of 1404 at Niederwildungen in Waldeck has similar vivacity and realism tempered by Italian influence in composition and settings.

In England paralysis at the main centres had checked any development comparable to that in France and Germany. A renaissance came towards the end of the century, but it centred mainly round the court of Richard II and was primarily of foreign inspiration. The marriage of the king with Anne of Bohemia strengthened the connexion between England and the territories of the Emperor, including the Rhine valley and Prague, whence craftsmen appear to have come to England; and his marriage with Isabelle, daughter of Charles V, put him in close touch with the court of France. There is also some evidence of contact with Italy, through Avignon. As a result, the principal paintings of the period which survive are so complete an embodiment of the continental style that in some cases their English origin is gravely open to question. The remarkable full-length portrait of Richard in Westminster Abbey has been reasonably, if not convincingly, attributed to Andre Beauneveu, and the famous diptych from Wilton House, now in the National Gallery at London, has been at different times ascribed to an English, Bohemian, Italian, and French artist, though recent research favours a French origin. Similar difficulties arise in the case of illuminated manuscripts. A fine example is the Sherborne Missal in the collection of the Duke of Northumberland, executed about 1400 by a number of painters of whom the chief was a Dominican friar, John Siferwas. Whether Siferwas was an Englishman is uncertain. But the Missal was executed for Sherborne Abbey, and was probably written and decorated there; and despite the continental origin of its style it may be fairly described as an English variant of an international Gothic style.

In the preceding pages, the rise, the full development, and the decadence of Gothic art in Northern Europe have been traced. Within limits set by decorative and expository purposes, narration and dramatic expression had been substituted to an increasing degree for the symbolic exposition of doctrine in Romanesque art; and the study and reproduction of natural appearance had replaced the conventions of an earlier period. The realism of Gothic art, however, even in its earlier and more intense form, was realism in detail. In the assembly of those details the facts of vision were to a large extent ignored, the governing consideration being decorative effect; and during the fourteenth century the detail itself of Gothic art became largely a matter of skilfully applied recipes. But by the side of this reiteration of formulas, a new spirit had manifested itself. The artists’ activity became one aspect of an awakening curiosity as to the nature of man and the universe, which was the central element of Renaissance thought. The decorative and expository aims of art continued, but were mingled with a renewed interest in external reality and its reproduction not only in detail but as a whole.

Political and economic circumstances facilitated this change of attitude. The Church as the principal patron of the arts was being replaced by great princes and noblemen, by wealthy merchants, and by civic bodies with very varying demands and standards; while the monastic craftsman had been superseded by the lay artist organised in gilds. So the way was opened for the various arts to develop an independent existence, and for the personality of the artist to become more fully recognised. Also, with the decay of feudalism and the appearance of centralised monarchy, nationalism in art makes its appearance. Gothic art largely ignored political boundaries; but once the personal alliances of princes which had helped to give the art of the late fourteenth century its international character were broken, the process of differentiation was rapid.

The first artist to give tolerably complete expression to the new ideals was the sculptor Claus Sluter, who appears in 1385 in the service of Philip of Burgundy. One of his first pieces of work was to assist Jean de Menneville with the sculpture on the portal of the abbey of Champmol; and in the part known to be by Sluter the breach with late Gothic work is complete. The figures are broad and bulky, standing free from the surrounding architecture with little relation to its design. They wear voluminous draperies cut into deep folds, well designed to express the movement beneath; and in the heads the characterisation is fearless. The motif of the famous pleurants on Philip’s tomb, now in the Dijon Museum, is not new, but the treatment is entirely original; and the figures swathed in great cloaks, each with its individual and expressive gesture varying from the tragic to the almost comic, is a remarkable achievement. But the work that absorbed Sluter’s main energies was the group of statuary completed in 1403 to cover the well in the courtyard of the abbey of Champmol, with the crucified Christ above and round the base massive figures of Moses, David, and four prophets. Sluter’s Christ (of which the head alone survives) is neither the King of Heaven of the thirteenth century nor the agonised sufferer of the fourteenth, but a man who has met death bravely and in death has found peace. The prophets are not creatures of celestial inspiration, but great men of this world, each one proclaiming his individuality in feature and gesture. In his combination of intense realism with monumental dignity, Sluter is nearer to Michelangelo in certain of his phases than to the great Flemings of whom he was a precursor. His influence on the rise of the Flemish School is still obscure, but his art sums up all the forces which were to bring that school into being.

Some years after the completion of the Puits de Moïse another work appeared which marks even more decisively the rise of a new art. A great Book of Hours, begun for the Duke of Berry, was partially completed between 1415 and 1417 for his nephew William of Bavaria. Of the additions, six complete pages and five large miniatures formed an outstanding group, of which now only two pages and three miniatures survive in the Trivulzio collection at Milan, the others having been destroyed in a fire at the Turin Library. That this group is the work of either Hubert or Jan van Eyck or of both of them is not now contested, only the distribution between the two being in dispute. The question of authorship, however, is less important than the character of the paintings. In them, the conception of a picture as a window opened upon the real world first takes shape. A piece of space is represented, in which figures and objects are placed in scale with each other, surrounded by light and atmosphere, to which the local colour is subdued. To this change in outlook is added one of technique. Linear pattern is abandoned for construction in terms of tone, and for the expression of form by means of light and shade. In a large miniature of the Birth of St John the Baptist there is as complete a mastery of illusion as was ever attained by Vermeer or Pieter de Hooch. In landscape the artist reveals the same power. Below the miniature of the Birth of St John is represented the Baptism of Christ. Behind the tiny figures in the foreground a river with wooded banks winds into the far distance. Over all falls an evening light, breaking the smooth water with delicate reflections. Every detail is subtly observed, skilfully recorded; but all are subordinated to expressing the solemn calm of late afternoon with its presage of night-fall.

With the emergence of the van Eycks, the artistic centre of gravity in Northern Europe passes definitely to Flanders. There a great commercial aristocracy had developed, whose patronage, added to that of the great nobles, gave the arts in Flanders a firm economic foundation; while no deep-rooted and powerful artistic tradition existed to dictate to artist and patron. When a distinctive Flemish art appears, it is borb full grown in the work of the van Eycks, whose origins lay in Franco-Flemish and Burgundian art, and not in Flanders itself.

Study of the van Eycks must take as starting-point the altar piece of the Adoration of the Lamb in the Cathedral of St Bavon at Ghent, which, according to a partly effaced inscription on the outside of the wings, was begun by Hubert and finished by Jan to the order of Jodoc Vyt in 1432. It is the only surviving painting with which Hubert is certainly known to have been concerned, and it contains the earliest recorded work by Jan. Here in one stupendous whole is summed up the main artistic achievement of fifteenth-century Flanders. In aim and method the Adoration 0fthe Lamb foreshadows or forestalls almost everything in Flemish painting until the coming of Quinten Massys. In the panel which represents the Lamb and his worshippers, from which the altarpiece takes its name, each figure is a personality, carefully studied from life; yet each takes its place as a unit in a great company, inspired by one aim, moving towards a common goal. The scene is set in a landscape, whose every detail is an extraordinary piece of observation; yet so just are the relations in tone and scale that these details combine to form a visual whole, a piece of space filled with light and atmosphere. But the limitations of Flemish painting are also exemplified. Individual figures are massive and dignified; but as a whole, the altarpiece lacks the monumental quality at which it aims, and is a collection of pictures rather than a single work of art.

The shares of Hubert and Jan in the altarpiece cannot be settled exactly without further documentary evidence; but it is a widely accepted view that the design and the greater part of the painting are by Hubert. On this basis, a considerable group of work has been attributed to him, in which the Three Marys at the Tomb, in the collection of Sir Herbert Cook, is outstanding; but the ascription is no more than a hypothesis, of which the validity is denied by Friedlander, who gives the whole group to Jan van Eyck1. Jan is a less mysterious figure than his brother, though, apart from his share in the Ghent altarpiece, the only paintings certainly by him belong to his maturity. The basis of these is an unflinching realism which came as a revelation to Northern Europe, but carried with* it inherent weaknesses. In Jan’s largest and most ambitious work, the Altarpiece of Canon George van der Paele in the Bruges Gallery, dated 1436, the development of detail and the rendering of textures are amazing in their accuracy; but the observation is piecemeal throughout, and the various parts are held together by the frame and not by the design or by the dramatic relations of the figures. In only one painting, the portrait of John Arnolfini and his Wife in the National Gallery at London, dated 1434, does Jan reveal power to make a monumental design, to subordinate detail and local colour to enveloping light and atmosphere, and to create emotional unity. In this miracle of observation and record those who prize such qualities will never tire of examining the way in which the textures are imitated, nor of tracing correspondences between the interior and its reflection in the mirror which hangs in the background. But the painting has greater merits. For once, Jan van Eyck has allowed each exquisitely wrought detail to fall into its proper place, so that each form has its main structure clearly defined, yet is duly related in space to the others and set in a light whose quality contrasts with the glimpse of open air through the window. The design is simple, but bold and effective; and if there is little dramatic emphasis, a very intimate and human relation between the two figures is established, while Arnolfini’s character, secretive and slightly sinister, is forcibly expressed.

The work of the van Eycks also marks an epoch in the technical history of painting. The story, which had its origin in an account given by Vasari in his life of Antonello da Messina, that they invented painting in oil, is entirely legendary. Oil in combination with other substances had long been known and used as a varnish and a medium in Northern Europe, and as a varnish in Italy. That the van Eycks introduced great improvements in its use is, however, certain. The exact nature of these improvements is unknown; but evidence points to their having invented a tolerably colourless and quick-drying oil varnish, which was used not only to cover the surface of the picture, but was mixed with the colours and applied in the form of transparent glazes over a painting laid in with tempera; a method which permitted greater freedom and delicacy of handling, and gave increased brilliancy of colour, thus greatly extending the power and resources of the painter.

Though the influence of the van Eycks was profound and widespread, they created no definite school. The only painter whose work suggests that he may have been a pupil of theirs is Petrus Christus, who was born shortly after 1400 and settled in Bruges in 1443. The chief characteristic of his work is a bold simplicity in light and shade, which gives the main forms sculpturesque quality, and secures a coherence among them unusual in early Flemish painting. Despite some coarseness in detail and emptiness in the forms, this characteristic unites with bold design and deep feeling to make his Mourning over Christ at Brussels a masterpiece of the period. Historically, Petrus Christus is important, since his employment in 1456 by the Duke of Milan may have provided a channel through which the van Eyck improvements in technique became known in Italy, where they played an important part in the development of the Venetian school.

Contemporary with the van Eycks, ultimately influenced by them but in his origins independent, is the painter of a well-defined group of work, formerly known as the Master of Mérode, now generally called the Master of Flemalle, from the fragments of an altarpiece painted for the abbey of Flemalle, now in the Frankfort Gallery. A brilliant piece of reasoning by Hulin de Loo1 identified him with one Robert Campin, a painter of Tournai, who is known to have settled there about 1406. Recently, however, this identification has been seriously, though not convincingly, challenged2, and it is now suggested that the Master of Flemalle is in fact the young Rogier van der Weyden. In any case, his early work has some affinity with that of the later Franco-Flemish miniaturists, though it is bolder in handling and more rustic in quality. Throughout, he is primarily a genre painter, with a delight in domestic and landscape detail and an interest in human character which inspired several vivid though brutal portraits. His later work reveals increasing power to construct the human figure and to organise design, probably under the influence of sculpture, of which Southern Flanders was an important centre; and in an altarpiece in the Prado, of 1438, the painter’s only dated work, the influence of the van Eycks appeal’s both in the details and a suggestion of atmospheric suffusion.

An attempt to make the Master of Flemalle the starting-point of a Walloon school of painting, distinct from the Flemish school of the van Eycks, has its roots in modern nationalist feeling; but it is clear that he is a partially independent derivation from the Franco-Flemish school of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century. This independence of origin also marks the work of Rogier van der Weyden or de la Pasture. Concerning his beginnings there is still doubt. Those who accept the identification of the Master of Flemalle with Campin hold that Rogier is the Rogelet de la Pasture who was apprenticed to Campin in 1427; those who argue that Rogier is himself the Master of Flemalle say that he and Rogelet are distinct. In any case, Rogier’s earliest certain work, the Descent from the Cross in the Escorial, is closely related in its realistic detail to the later work of the Flemalle Master, another link with whom is the treatment of the painting as though it were a piece of sculpture in high relief. But there is a pathos and a dramatic power greater than in any work of the Master of Flemalle. In Rogier’s later work realism and sculpturesque treatment are less evident. The handling becomes more suave, the forms more slender and elegant, and the emphasis on contour greater, while the feeling becomes increasingly sentimental and languorous, as in the great Last Judgment altarpiece at Beaune, and in the Seven Sacraments in the Brussels Gallery. A visit to Italy made no change in Rogier’s outlook or methods, as the altarpiece in Berlin commissioned by Peter Bladelin indicates; and the profound emotion which inspires a little Pleta at Brussels is exceptional. More characteristic are a group of half-length Madonnas, sometimes associated with portraits of patrons to form diptychs, whose popularity led to their being imitated by a considerable group of Bruges painters at the end of the century. Rogier’s portraits are primarily transcripts of the sitter’s face in terms of linear decoration, tinged with a slightly melancholy refinement; but they are exquisite examples of types recorded in terms of the artist’s own temperament.

Though Rogier found many imitators, he is to be regarded as perpetuating old traditions rather than breaking new ground. In the work of Dierick Bouts, a contemporary of Rogier’s who was born at Haarlem and worked mainly at Louvain, a temper and technique appear which were to be more fruitful. Bouts’ realism in detail, pursued in the spirit of an inventory maker, is as unwearying and uncompromising as that of Jan van Eyck; and like Jan van Eyck, it is rare for any common sentiment to unite his figures, while he lacks Rogier van der Weyden’s power of linear design. But above all Netherlandish painters Bouts has a feeling for the modulation of form and colour by light and air, which enables him to create a spacious and atmospheric world round his puppets, and joined to his keen observation makes him a great painter of landscape. At the same time his taste and invention in harmonies and contrasts of colour give his paintings great beauty as decoration. The altarpiece of the Last Supper, painted for the Cathedral of Louvain between 1464 and 1468, reveals almost every aspect of Bouts’ genius and its limitations. It is clumsy in design, and in each panel the individual figures seem scarcely conscious of each other’s existence. Yet each head is full of vitality, and the treatment of landscape and setting is masterly. It is, however, in the portrait of a man in the National Gallery, dated 1462, that Bouts displays all his strength. The characterisation is vivid, yet restrained; the figure is set in light and air, which floods in through a window opening on a spacious landscape; and the colour is an exquisite harmony of silver greys, cool browns, and murrey, with one decisive touch of blue in the landscape.

Under Bouts’ influence there was active in Holland in the middle and later half of the century a group of painters whose work is marked by naive and sometimes awkward realism in the treatment of the figures, and by exceptionally sensitive and skilful treatment of landscape and architectural settings. The outstanding figure among these is Geertgen tot Sint Jans—little Gerard, who lived with the Knights of St John in Haarlem. He is a secondary master, but rich in invention. In his hands, landscape becomes increasingly rich and varied, as in the St John the Baptist in Berlin, with a background like the park round some great English house; and in the little Adoration of the Child, in the National Gallery at London, Geertgen breaks new ground, by painting the scene as happening at night, the enveloping darkness broken only by miraculous light emanating from the child and from the angel appearing to the shepherds in the background. In the vivid contrast of light with mysterious shadow, Geertgen found a new means of intensifying and revealing the dramatic aspect of his theme—means which Rembrandt was later to employ with unrivalled mastery.

Despite this activity in Holland, the principal centre of the arts in Northern Europe remained in Flanders. There, of the generation which followed Bouts and Rogier van der Weyden, the chief figure was the Ghent painter, Hugo van der Goes, a mysterious and tragic figure, who died insane in 1482. The only painting by him authenticated by documents is the famous triptych painted for Tommaso Portinari of Florence, now in the Uffizi. Hugo’s art is marked by a passionate and intense feeling, for whose expression he never discovered adequate means. His instinct was to work on a large scale, in which he stands alone among the early Flemings. In his early work, he appears cramped by the necessity of conforming to the fashion for small work; later, when he could indulge his taste for size, he was limited by using the customary Flemish medium, admirably adapted for delicate and precise detail, but difficult to use rapidly and broadly. So it is that Hugo often achieves monumental dignity in a single figure, but rarely in a whole composition.

In the wings of the Portinari triptych—the figures of the donors with the children and patron saints—strong and subtle characterisation is combined with dignity and breadth of treatment to produce a truly monumental effect; while the landscape backgrounds are among the most delicate and spacious in the whole history of Flemish painting. But in the Nativity which forms the central panel, despite the strong underlying emotion and its dramatic concentration, the seduction of local colour and accessory detail has destroyed unity. In a magnificent Adoration of the Kings in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, however, Hugo has come near to full realisation of his aims. The individual figures have his characteristic nobility, especially the young king on the right, who might have been inspired by Piero della Francesca. At the same time, despite some failure to use fully the unifying influence of light, the main masses are united into an imposing design, in which the elaborately wrought detail finds its just and subordinate place.

It is curious that personalities such as Hubert van Eyck and Hugo van der Goes did not found any considerable school of painters in Ghent. In contrast, Bruges in the later fifteenth century developed one of the most flourishing and active schools of painting in the Netherlands. But no considerable personality appeared until Hans Memling settled there at some date before 1467. He was a German, born in the principality of Mayence, probably between 1430 and 1435. His earliest known work is a triptych, in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth, painted about 1468 for the English knight, Sir John Donne. This is the work of a fully matured master, and in essentials does not differ in any way from Memling’s latest work. Here he gives all that he has to give—a summary of conventions and methods, worked out by two generations of original painters, modified and co-ordinated to produce a decorative and descriptive art. Memling reveals no new aspect of the external world, creates no new and convincing reality of his own, and never conveys, if ever he experienced, an intense or passionate feeling. But in his work there is superb craftsmanship, great taste in the decorative arrangement of forms and colours, and an atmosphere of tender and idyllic sentiment. This last quality gives Memling his distinctive position among Flemish painters, and is a source of charm as unfailing as it is apt to become monotonous. It relates him to the group of painters active in Cologne about the middle of the century which centres round Stefan Lochner, and forms the one definite link between Memling and his native country. Despite his limitations, however, Memling takes high rank as a painter of portraits. Finest of all, perhaps, is the diptych in the Bruges Hospital, painted in 1487 for Martin van Nieuwenhoven, with the Virgin and Child on the left side, the donor on the right. With the wings open the painting is like a page from an illuminated manuscript, so delicate and gay is the pattern of lines and colours. The Virgin has all the idyllic charm with which Memling was able to invest her; and the portrait of the donor, weak and foolish though he appears, is painted with insight and patient sympathy.

The influence of fifteenth-century Flemish art made itself felt throughout Europe. In Italy, though the painters of Lombardy and Piedmont on occasion adopted Flemish designs and motives, and Venetian painting owed much to Flemish technique, Italian traditions were too powerful to be more than superficially affected. Elsewhere, Flemish influence ultimately wove itself into the very texture of the national art. In England, a few illuminated manuscripts and panels of the early fifteenth century reveal an intensified realism which marks a breach with the conventions of late Gothic art; but any development parallel to that in Flanders was frustrated by political and religious disturbances, which left art in the hands of provincial craftsmen who found their patrons mainly among the rising merchant class, and their chief field of activity in the parish church. From their hands came the rood screens of East Anglia and Devonshire, the great Dooms which surmounted the screen, and the crude but lively paintings on the walls, representing incidents from the Bible, from the lives of saints, and from popular moralities and mystery plays. In these, local traditions persist, with elements from Flemish and Low German sources grafted on to them. The production was large, but the quality almost without exception mediocre. When English patrons wanted work of fine quality, they usually turned to Flanders. A notable exception is the paintings which decorate the walls of Eton College Chapel, painted between 1480 and 1488 by one William Baker and his assistants. These are in monochrome, with occasional touches of colour, and reveal considerable inventive and technical skill. They are shot through with Flemish influence; but the grace and breeding of the figures, and the linear emphasis, distinguish them from the work of any Flemish painter and link them to the best traditions of English medieval art.

In Germany, and especially in the Rhine valley, native character persisted longer. In the north, Meister Francke at Hamburg worked in the tradition of Meister Bertram and Conrad of Soest with greater naturalism in lighting and setting. In Cologne and its neighbourhood, the idyllic, lyrical temper of the St Clara altarpiece inspired a considerable group of later paintings, such as the Garden of Paradise at Frankfort, and the Virgin with the pea blossom in the Cologne Gallery, and found its final and most complete expression in the work of Stefan Lochner, who first appeared in 1430 and died in 1451. Variety in character, action, and the gesture of his figures embody the realistic tendencies of his age, also his power to suggest a third dimension by the use of light and shade; but these characteristics are only so much material for the creation of a dainty fairyland, radiant with gold and colour, where human drama and passion have no place. The Adoration of the Kings in Cologne Cathedral reflects a temperament nurtured by the mystical side of medieval Christianity, remote from the materialism underlying contemporary Flemish art. In this respect, Lochner carries on not only Cologne tradition, but that of the upper Rhine valley, of which he was a native. There worked Lucas Moser, more naive and rustic than Lochner, with a greater interest in realistic landscape detail, but equally tender and poetic. Konrad Witz, born probably in Switzerland in 1398, preserved beneath borrowings from Flanders a distinctive lyric and bizarre quality. In contrast, Hans Multscher developed realism to the verge of the savage and grotesque, a characteristic which combined with increasing subservience to Flemish example was to mark German art until the coming of Dürer.

In France, the long-maintained supremacy of Paris disappeared during the English wars and the struggle of Burgundians and Armagnacs. Nevertheless, a considerable school of miniaturists flourished there working in the tradition of the de Limbourg brothers; and later in the century a number of painters found employment under Louis XI. But the chief centres of activity were elsewhere. In the North, painters such as Simon Marmion (ob. 1489) were mainly reflections of contemporary Flemish practice. In Anjou and Touraine however, largely under the patronage of René of Anjou, a more distinctive school developed. Prominent in this is Jean Foucquet, who visited Italy, worked in Paris, and finally settled at Tours, where he died in 1481. By him are the celebrated illustrations to a Josephus in the Bibliothéque Nationale (MS Fr. 247) and to the Hours of Etienne Chevalier, forty of which are at Chantilly. On the basis of these a number of panel paintings have been attributed to him, among them a celebrated diptych, with Etienne Chevalier and St Stephen on one wing (in Berlin) and the Virgin and Child on the other (Antwerp Museum). These and the miniatures reveal the tempering of Flemish by Italian influence in a largeness of design, a structural grasp, and an incisive sweep of line, which brings realistic detail into unity. In this Foucquet is a precursor of the French painters of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, who were to cast elements of Northern origin in the mould of Italian tradition to produce a distinctive national art. To the generation after Foucquet belonged the Master of Moulins, so called from a triptych in the cathedral of that city, painted about 1498; also known as le Peintre des Bourbons, from a notable group of portraits of the Bourbon family. In his work the influence of Hugo van der Goes is predominant, with Hugo’s feeling for design and drama replaced by a search for elegance which often degenerates into triviality and prettiness.

In the South of France, Avignon continued to be a point of convergence for artists from every direction, and the work produced reflects a corresponding mixture of influences. A Coronation of the Virgin at Villeneuve-les-Avignon, painted in 1453 by Enguerrand Charenton of Laon, is Northern in its types, Italian in its schematic and decorative design, and Provencal only in the landscape which fills the bottom of the panel. In the work of Nicholas Froment, painter of Moses and the Burning Bush in the cathedral at Aix-en-Provence, Flemish influence, notably that of Bouts, is dominant, joined to Italian elements in design. The outstanding work of the Avignon school, however, is a Pieta from Villeneuve-les-Avignon, now in the Louvre, by an unknown painter; a masterpiece of monumental design, structural treatment of form, and poignant feeling, in which currents of alien influence are fused into a highly personal and original art.

Painting in Spain has hitherto been left unmentioned, as during the Middle Ages it was little more than a distorted reflection of the art as practised elsewhere. Until the fourteenth century, the main centre of activity was Catalonia; but as province after province was reconquered from the Moors, so gradually local schools of painters appeared. Catalonia in the thirteenth century was first a French fief and then part of the kingdom of Aragon; so that as an artistic centre its influence extended considerably beyond the borders of the modern province. At the same time, Barcelona was one of the greatest commercial cities of the age, in close touch with Italy, and in particular with Florence; while the conquest of Sicily by Peter III in 1282, and contact with Byzantium, increased the opportunity for foreign influence to affect Catalan art. The few surviving examples of thirteenth-century work are little more than imitations in cheaper materials of Byzantine mosaics, used to decorate church walls and altar frontals. In the fourteenth century, however, Italian influence made itself felt. An early example is an altarpiece from the cathedral at Huesca, doubtfully ascribed to Bernat de Pou, a painter of Barcelona. It takes the traditional form of two figures of saints flanked by small scenes from their lives; but in the types there is a tentative and halting realism, and in the small scenes a hint of Giottesque influence. Later, this Italian influence became paramount, as is evident in the work of Ferrer Bassa (active 1315-48), in whose decorations of the convent of Pedralbe (now in the Barcelona Museum) Sienese and Giottesque types and compositions are mingled. Towards the end of the century mural painting in churches was abandoned, and the principal place for the employment of the painter was the great carved and gilt retablo of the altar, divided into many compartments, each decorated with a scene painted on a gold ground, the whole surmounted by a painting of Christ on the Cross. These retablos were often the work of two or three generations of artists; and the necessity of keeping the later panels in harmony with the earlier work stereotyped both ideas and methods. A brilliant combination of scarlet, green, and dark blue with gold gives the work of such painters as the brothers Jaime and Pere Serra and Luis Borrassá its best claim to distinction. In types, backgrounds, and composition Italian influence is predominant, mainly due to the presence in Spain of Starnina and other Italian painters. At the same time, intercourse between Spain and Northern Europe was considerable; and so the work of Borrassá and his contemporaries is related in some degree to contemporary work in France, Germany, England, and Bohemia, though far behind it in skill, containing the same elements of realism, drama, and decorative exuberance, which were bred from the contact of Northern mind with Italian example, and had resulted in the formation of the international Gothic style of the late fourteenth century. Later, as in Northern Europe, Flemish influence became dominant in Spain, and inspired work such as that of Luis Dalmau, painter of a Virgin and Child Enthroned in the Barcelona Museum, faithfully modelled on a van Eyck pattern. Spanish painting, however, still retained some elements of an almost barbaric splendour, which give it some independent character.

The revival of art in Italy after the Dark Ages came somewhat later than in Northern Europe. As in Northern Europe, impact of the arts brought by the migratory peoples upon the survivals of classical art was mingled with Byzantine influence in producing the art of the Middle Ages; but the relative weight of the forces at work was sufficiently different to create an art of distinctive character. The contrast between the arts North and South of the Alps has in the past been overstressed. Again and again, influences from France, Flanders, and Germany entered Italy, and gave a definite turn to artistic production there, while as often Italian influence travelled north and profoundly affected Northern artists. But always any tendency towards assimilation was checked by a difference in origin and local conditions. One factor that marked off Italy from the rest of Europe was the strength of the classical tradition. The number of monuments known was few and increased but slowly. Even at the period of the High Renaissance, the differences between Greek and Roman Art, between the Republican and Imperial epochs were scarcely understood, and conceptions of the art of antiquity were almost entirely based on late and decadent Roman work. But there was nevertheless continuity in classical conceptions and forms. The makers of the Christian sarcophagus took over the design of their Roman forerunners, and in drapery, proportions, types, and mouldings re-echoed, even though faintly, their standards. Similarly, the activity in Rome during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, mainly displayed in the construction of tombs and altar canopies, and in their decoration with polychrome mosaic, was less a revival than an intensified persistence in Roman adaptations of opus alexandrinum. Moreover, in language, literature, economic and social life, and political ideas, the influence of Rome persisted; so that when artistic activity quickened, ideas inherited from antiquity were ready to shape it. A second factor which helped to give Italian art characteristic form was that Italy was more closely and constantly in touch with the Byzantine Empire than was Northern Europe; and that in Italy itself were great centres of Byzantine artistic activity, notably in Ravenna and the South, whose monuments continued to be a living source of inspiration long after the Empire had retreated from Italy. The influence of Byzantine art in its earlier phases was to formalise both conception and method. Used mainly to give expression to dogmatic religious ideas, it restricted employment of narrative or dramatic elements, and fostered the use of schematic and non-realistic forms. Story-telling propensities and love of naturalistic detail were encouraged by an independent current of influence from Asia Minor, but had less free play in Italy than in the North; and when the artist broke away from Byzantine models, he found freedom chiefly in the classical tradition, with the result that interest in form and its balanced, harmonious treatment have always been a dominant element in Italian art.

It was not until the end of the thirteenth century that these various influences combined to produce a distinctive Italian art. In the twelfth century, the influence of Byzantine art in its more abstract forms was powerful, and in certain areas supreme, though signs of another spirit at work appear. In Rome, for example, the revolt of 1143 and the establishment of the commune were symptoms of a new enthusiasm for classical example, which bore some fruit in mosaic and painting; in Umbria, a number of painted crucifixes and some wall paintings reveal a variation in facial expression and a dramatic energy foreign to contemporary Byzantine work; in Tuscany and North Italy, hieratic symbolism begins to yield to narrative. The sculpture of Benedetto Antelami at Parma marks an epoch in the effort to attain naturalism in movement and gesture, to design in space, and to infuse the whole with dramatic feeling. During the thirteenth century this loosening of bonds continued. The fall of Byzantium in 1204 caused a considerable influx of Greeks into Western Europe and an increased importation of examples of late Byzantine art. This new wave of Byzantine influence was felt strongly in Italy, and especially in Tuscany, owing to the close connexion at that date of Pisa with the East. It gave a new lease of life to Byzantine conventions, but at the same time brought with it the themes of a new iconography, in which the human and realistic side of the life of Christ and of the Virgin held an important place. The influence of these themes was reinforced by the rise of the Franciscan movement, which not only quickened the demand for works of ait, but especially welcomed those in which interest in man and nature was mixed with symbolic expression of dogma. Side by side with the Crucifix, images of St Francis were produced, flanked or surrounded with scenes from his life which gave full scope for dramatic narration.

In Tuscany, the chief centres of artistic activity were Pisa, Lucca, Florence, and Siena, in each of which the reaction in favour of Byzantine methods and the impulse towards a more human and naturalistic art reached a different balance. Many names of artists have come down to us; but to attach works to all but a few of these names is impossible. In Pisa, however, records and two signed crucifixes establish the importance of Giunta Pisano. In general character these crucifixes conform to the Byzantine type; but in detail they differ markedly. Christ is not only dead, but represented as having died in agony, and this dramatic emphasis is reinforced by the expressions and attitudes of the Virgin and St John at the ends of the cross bar. In Lucca the Berlinghieri family was prominent. A full-length figure of St Francis, with three scenes from his legend on each side, by Bonaventura Berlinghieri, is the earliest known example of a large group of similar paintings, of which the unusual number signed by Margaritone of Arezzo has given their author a reputation beyond his merits. In Siena the breach was less with Byzantine ideals than with Byzantine methods. The most important painting of the period is a large Madonna and Child in the Palazzo Pubblico at Siena, which bears a repainted inscription giving the name of the artist, Guido da Siena, and the date 1221, which competent critics argue was originally 1271. In any case, the work is one of a considerable group, in all of which the influence of Byzantine models is present, but modified by a feeling for the movement of line, for delicate decoration, and for strong realism in detail, which were to mark later Sienese work. In Florence, on the other hand, the presence of Greek artists and commercial intercourse with Rome helped to maintain Byzantine influence, as is suggested by a much repainted Virgin and Child in the Servite Church at Siena, which is recorded to have been signed by Coppo di Marcovaldo of Florence and dated 1261.

In Rome and the neighbouring districts, the influence of mosaic helped to keep the Byzantine tradition alive, a contributory factor being the popularity of painted images of Christ and of the Virgin and Child, which were held in special veneration and were probably in some cases imported from the East. In the work of Jacopo Torriti, who signed towards the end of the century the fine mosaics in the apse of St John Lateran in Rome, and the even more magnificent decoration of the apse in Santa Maria Maggiore, the design, the types, the gestures, the drapery, and the ornaments are so purely Byzantine that, but for the inscriptions, their authorship and date could scarcely be determined. But by the side of such works others were being produced which broke with Byzantine ideals. Such are the mural paintings by one Conxolus in the Sacro Speco at Subiaco, in which narrative power, a liveliness in action, and a realism in detail, including an attempt at landscape background, mark the painter as an innovator. Far more important than Conxolus is Pietro Cavallini, the leading figure in Rome of a classical renaissance. Two groups of work only can be attributed to him with any certainty: a set of mosaics in Santa Maria in Trastevere, which appeal' to have been originally signed and dated 1291, and a series of frescoes in Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, which can be established by documents to have been executed about 1293. One of the most remarkable of the mosaics represents the birth of the Virgin, in which a singularly human and intimate note is struck. The figures themselves are stately and dignified, modelled in three dimensions, with drapery falling in simple, easy folds, while their proportions and attitudes recall those of antique statues. The influence of classical antiquity is still more evident in the Santa Cecilia frescoes, of which the only tolerably complete part is the upper half of a Last Judgment on the west wall. In the centre is Christ enthroned and surrounded by angels; to the left stands the Virgin, on the right St John the Baptist; and on each side are seated six apostles. The mighty figures, in attitude, gesture, and facial type, have an individuality evidently based upon direct observation of nature; while the simple and restrained handling gives monumental dignity and a sense of power. The figure of Christ dominates the whole scene, acting as a dramatic focus for the varying emotions aroused. Yet were it not for such details as the emblem of the apostles, it would be difficult to realise that a culminating event in the history of the world as taught by the Church is represented; rather, the conception is that of the Gods of Olympus sitting in judgment upon mortals. The influence of classical art has passed beyond inspiring the full, fused modelling of the heads and hands and the heavy, naturalistic swathes of the drapery, to influencing the basic conception of the subject.

No other works certainly by Cavallini are known. But it is clear that he was the central figure of a considerable school, of which the most notable productions are frescoes in Santa Maria di Donna Regina at Naples, and on the upper part of the wall in the Upper Church of San Francesco at Assisi, representing scenes from the Old Testament and from the life of Christ. The authorship of the latter is a matter of controversy1; but they reveal beyond dispute how great was the influence of Cavallini at Assisi, and indicate one of the channels through which it helped to shape the course of Florentine painting.

Another remarkable manifestation of the classical revival was in the sculpture of Southern Italy. An early example is the bronze gates of the church at Ravello, dated 1179; but it was under the patronage and deliberate encouragement of the Emperor Frederick II that the revival reached its height. On the famous gateway of Capua, built by him, was a statue of the Emperor, with busts of two of his ministers and of a woman symbolising Imperial Capua, remains of all of which are now in the Capua Museum. The statue of the Emperor appears to have been modelled on that of a Roman Caesar, the figure of Capua on that of a Roman goddess, while the busts of the judges, both in tolerable preservation, are imitations of the busts of Roman sages or philosophers. They do not stand alone as evidence of a considerable activity. On the pulpit of San Pantaleone at Ravello is the life-size bust of a woman, crowned with a diadem from which hang long tassels, thought to represent Mater Ecclesia; and a similar bust from near Amalfi is now in the Berlin Museum. In both, the types and technique are those of Roman sculpture, with a high polish, deep cutting, and use of the drill hitherto unknown in medieval art.

The significance of this Southern classical revival is, however, less in the remnants of its achievement than in its having been in all probability the training ground of Niccola Pisano, one of the great formative influences in Tuscan art. Claims once made that Niccola was a native of Tuscany are now generally disregarded. Not only is he referred to in a contemporary document as de Apulia^ but his work is so closely connected in style with Southern sculpture, and is in such marked contrast to earlier Pisan work, as to make a Pisan origin almost incredible. What is certain, however, is that he was in Pisa before 1260, the date inscribed with the artist’s name on the pulpit of the Baptistery there. In this, there is practically nothing which recalls the art of Byzantium, the bas-reliefs and statuettes which ornament it being all directly derived from late Roman art, and in particular from the Roman sarcophagus. In the panel representing the Annunciation and the Nativity the figures are modelled in the round, almost detached from the background, with the features, drapery folds, and other details deeply cut; they are crowded together into an irregular pattern covering the whole surface; and the facial types, the proportions, and the drapery are all classic, the Virgin a Juno, the angels Roman Victories. Into the next great work with which Niccola was associated, however, new elements enter. In the pulpit of Siena Cathedral, finished in 1268 with the help of Niccola’s son Giovanni, Arnolfo di Cambio, and others, the reliefs are more naturalistic; the figures have lost their Olympian stolidity and are more lively and human; their draperies fall in finer and more graceful folds; and the dramatic and narrative interest is more evident. One explanation alone is possible: that in the period between the execution of the two pulpits, Niccola and his helpers had come under the influence of Northern Gothic. This conclusion is reinforced by study of the figures which separate the bas-reliefs and the arches. Some of them might, except for their size, come direct from the facade of a Northern cathedral. In the great fountain in front of Perugia Cathedral, completed by the same group of artists in 1278, the influence of the North is even more dominant, though the parts attributable to Niccola himself still retain a strong classic flavour.

In the work of Niccola’s immediate followers, the main elements of his art persist, but with a different emphasis. Classical art, from being the principal inspiration, becomes for the most part a source of reminiscence; while Northern Gothic becomes an increasing influence. The work of Fra Guglielmo is little more than a skilful pastiche on Niccola’s later phase; but Arnolfo di Cambio and Giovanni Pisano are independent artists of the first rank. It has been argued that this Arnolfo is distinct from the Arnolfo who later in life designed Santa Croce and the Cathedral at Florence; but the weight of evidence favours identification of the two. As an independent sculptor, his earliest known work is the signed monument to Cardinal de Braye in San Domenico at Orvieto, which probably dates from shortly after the death of the cardinal in 1282. Despite mutilation, the monument is an admirable combination of dignified design with graceful and delicate detail, in which the influence of Niccola Pisano and of Roman art mingles with that of Northern Gothic. In the ciborium of San Paolo fuori le mura at Rome, dated 1285, Gothic influence is more evident in the architectural forms than in the de Braye monument, but the sculpture retains classic traits. An Eve seems to have been modelled upon an antique Venus; the angels are flying Victories; a prophet holding a scroll is like the figure of a Roman orator. Yet they pass beyond mere imitation by virtue of a well assimilated naturalism and an easy grace. Perhaps as the result of a longer stay in Rome, the influence of Roman art is more evident in the ciborium of 1293 in Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. The mounted figure of St Tiburtius at one of the corners definitely recalls the equestrian figure of Marcus Aurelius on the Campidoglio, though the artist's naturalistic instinct keeps the work personal and living.

The work of Giovanni Pisano, in contrast with that of Arnolfo, reveals growing domination of Gothic influence. He never worked in Rome, and so was denied first-hand contact with the classical revival, while Tuscany was in direct touch with the North. An early work by him is the half-length Virgin and Child which stands in the Campo Santo at Pisa. The proportions, the simplicity of outline, the rigidity of pose, and the absence of deep cutting in the drapery combine to produce a monumental and massive quality, which with the facial types reflects the influence of Niccola. The sculptor's own personality finds expression in the intimate emotional relation between the Mother and Child. In a later Madonna over the eastern portal of the Baptistery the figure still retains the massive proportions of Niccola’s work; but its swing and the deep-cut flowing drapery are Gothic; and in the sculpture of the facade of Siena Cathedral, of which his was the controlling mind, there is a freedom and variety of movement, a vivacity of characterisation, and lively rhythms in the drapery, which mark further assimilation of Northern influence. This reaches its highest point in an ivory Virgin and Child in Pisa Cathedral, an admirable combination of dignified grace and tender human feeling. Decisive separation from the work of Niccola appears in a pulpit in Sant’ Andrea at Pistoia, begun about 1299. This, rather than the later and recently reconstructed pulpit in Pisa Cathedral, gives complete expression to the genius of Giovanni. The design is similar to that of Niccola’s pulpit at Siena, but is throughout inspired by a different spirit. In the architecture, the slenderness of the columns, the sharply pointed arches, and the lightness of the horizontal mouldings combine to give the vertical emphasis and sense of upward movement which is a mark of Gothic. Everywhere, movement, individual character, dramatic emotion are emphasised. The eagles which support the central column seem to be sweeping round its base; the figures between the arches and at the angles of the pulpit stand almost detached, poised and gesturing; in the evangelist symbols at the corner which support the lectern is an agitation bordering on the fantastic; the prophets in the spandrils of the arches seem to swell beyond the space for which they are designed; while in the reliefs the characteristics of individual forms are picked up and emphasised by the energetic rhythms of the design.

The importance of Niccola Pisano and his immediate followers in the history of Italian art is difficult to exaggerate. They gave inspiration and suggestion to artists in North Italy which helped to break the bonds of tradition and set men free to achieve the triumphs of fourteenth century art. Their influence was felt not only in style but in content. Niccola was among the first Italian artists to introduce the full complement of personages into the biblical scenes he depicted, with appropriate accessories; and his use of the nude, under stimulus from classical art, created a precedent of widespread importance. The Northern influence which had shaped their work came mainly through religious houses and commercial channels. Apart from the movement of individual monks or friars, a number of Cistercian monasteries were established in Italy; and Italian merchants, especially those of Siena and Florence, frequented the great fairs of Northern Europe, while pilgrimages added to the number of Northern visitors to Italy. Gothic influence on Italian architecture probably came chiefly through Cistercian example; while sculptors and painters would see such easily transportable works as ivories and manuscripts, of which a certain number are known to have come to Italy, later, these casual contacts were given a more permanent character by the removal of the Popes to Avignon. But the tide was then beginning to turn. For the time being, Italy had little more to learn from the North, and in the fourteenth century the flow of influence is from rather than towards Italy.

Meanwhile, painting in Tuscany was moving on a similar path to that of sculpture. Almost exactly contemporary with Giovanni Pisano is Duccio di Buoninsegna of Siena, whose work marks development from the modified Byzantinism of the thirteenth-century Sienese School to a definitely Italian style, by force of a genius inspired from the North and untouched by the classical revival. Among Duccio’s earliest works is a little Virgin and Child adored by three Franciscan friars, in the Siena Gallery. The types are Byzantine; but the arrangement of the figures, the very human child and the graceful, flowing linear pattern made by the contours point to Northern influence transmitted through a marked personality, while the diapered dossal of the background suggests a Northern miniature as prototype. Closely related is the famous Rucellai Madonna in Santa Maria Novella at Florence, once universally accepted as the painting by Cimabue round which Vasari wove the well-known story of its triumphant passage from the artist’s studio to the church. Documentary research and stylistic analysis, however, have demolished the legend, and substituted a likelihood that the Rucellai Madonna is in fact one which in 1285 Duccio contracted with the fraternity of Santa Maria Novella to paint. Yet, combined with many characteristics found in the work of Duccio are Florentine elements, which prevent wholehearted acceptance of Duccio’s authorship, and raise the possibility of it being the work of an independent master influenced by both Cimabue and Duccio.

In Duccio’s later work, a recrudescence of Byzantine influence is combined with fuller and more delicate modelling and greater feeling for space; a development which paves the way to Duccio’s crowning achievement, the great Maestà in the Opera del Duomo of Siena. This was commissioned in 1308; and its completion in 1311, and its installation in the cathedral, aroused that very excitement and enthusiasm of which Vasari’s Florentine bias had made the Rucellai Madonna the occasion. Despite the loss of five panels, and the dispersal of seven others among museums and private collections, the Maestà still retains substantially its original form. On the front is the Virgin and Child enthroned, surrounded by angels and saints; on the back is a series of panels containing scenes from the later life and Passion of Christ; and in the predella and cornice are represented incidents from childhood and early manhood, the appearances after the Crucifixion, and scenes from the life of the Virgin. In its emotional power, its accomplishment, and its influence, the Maestà must be regarded as the Sienese equivalent of Giotto’s decoration of the Arena Chapel. As never before, the devotion of Siena to the Madonna is given outward and visible form with singular intensity; and the life of Christ is revealed as a profoundly human as well as a divine drama. Within the framework of a strictly Byzantine iconography, figures have taken on a new naturalism and expressiveness in gesture and movement; there is a new sense of space, and a nascent feeling for landscape; the buildings in which a scene is enacted are no longer oriental abstractions, but are based on those of Siena itself; there is a vividness in narration, with dramatic unity gained by the skilful relating of individual action to the central theme; and throughout delicate and subtly varied colour is combined with graceful linear rhythms to produce a magnificent piece of decoration.

Duccio cast a lustre upon Siena which Florence could not for the moment rival. But there also the leaven of new ideas was working. The sharp dividing line between art in Florence and Siena which it used to be the fashion to trace has largely been obliterated by modem research. Despite a bitter rivalry in politics and commerce, cultural intercourse between Siena and Florence was close. Duccio and other Sienese worked in Florence; and the still undecided controversy over the Rucellai Madonna illustrates how nearly Florentine and Sienese painters were linked. With the coming of Giotto, a breach in ideals and methods definitely appears; but for nearly a century after his death, the tendency is again towards fusion. Giotto himself had some influence in Siena, while Sienese influence in Florence was strongly marked. In Florence, at the end of the thirteenth century, appears the half legendary figure of Cimabue. That he existed is certain; that he was of some note is probable from the well-known lines in the Purgatorio.

Credette Cimabue nella pittura

Tener lo campo, ed ora ha Giotto il grido.

But of his work only one certain example remains. From August 1301 to January 1302 he was director of the mosaic work at Pisa Cathedral, and worked upon the still intact mosaic of Christ enthroned, attended by the Virgin and St John the Evangelist, of which the St John and part of the Christ are reputed to be entirely his work. This scarcity of authenticated work has produced very different conceptions and estimates of Cimabue, one party regarding him as among the chief precursors of the Renaissance and author of a large body of extant work, another denying that any painting by him survives and that he was little more than a mediocrity. To-day, opinion halts between these extremes, accepting a conventional Cimabue, whom it regards as author of a tolerably coherent group of works, related in some degree to the Pisa mosaic and sanctioned by a considerable tradition in some cases. Prominent in this group are a Virgin and Child enthroned and surrounded by angels, formerly in Santa Trinity at Florence, and now in the Uffizi, and a series of frescoes which decorate the apse and north transept of the Upper Church at Assisi. That their painter was still under strong Byzantine influence is evident; but differences from Byzantine work appear in more marked and varied expression of character and feeling, in greater grace and variety of attitude, and above all in the treatment of form. Outline ceases to be a simple boundary line, and is related to the interior modelling to assist in creating a feeling of a third dimension. There is contrast also with the method of Cavallini, who modelled in soft and gradual transitions of tone and colour.

Whatever view be taken concerning the authorship of these and similar works, it is beyond argument that in Florence and at Assisi a painter or group of painters were active in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century who broke the spell of Byzantinism and gave a vigorous impulse to new achievement. It was into an atmosphere thus created and onto a soil thus prepared that Giotto was born. Controversy may be acute concerning his training and early work; uncertainty may obscure some periods of his activity; but there remains a solid core of indisputable achievement, whose influence and intrinsic character make him one of the supreme artists of the Western world. Giotto was probably born in 1066, near Florence. According to long tradition his first master was Cimabue; and both documentary evidence and certain characteristics of his earlier work raise the presumption that he visited and worked in Rome, probably before 1300, though nothing remains that can be regarded as certainly the result of this stay. About his work at Assisi opinion is still sharply divided. None of the work in the Lower Church which used to be attributed to him has survived recent criticism; while competent opinion has even denied to him the famous St Francis series in the Upper Church. Of the twenty-eight scenes which compose this, it is generally agreed that the last three and part of the first are by a follower. The rest, despite the use of assistants, are the product of one mind, and in many cases of one hand. There is no mention of their painter in early documents; and despite a long tradition that they are by Giotto, style must determine the issue. In favour of Giotto’s authorship is a series of marked and fundamental characteristics which are to be found only in the undoubted work of Giotto and nowhere else; and if the paintings are denied to him, a genius must be invented who developed on exactly the same lines as Giotto and disappeared in early manhood. Most remarkable in the St Francis series is the attempt to give structural character to the forms, and to give a feeling of depth and recession. It has been truly said that Giotto was the first mural painter to knock a hole in the wall. With him painting is less the decoration of a surface than a means of creating three-dimensional space, within which solid forms may be organised into an architectural unity. Corresponding to this conception is his treatment of human emotions and their interaction. His individual figures are full of vitality, expressing in gesture and action a wide range of feeling, controlled always by a deep-lying tranquillity of spirit; while these varying emotions are directly related to the central event depicted, leading up to or reinforcing the psychological issue. Thus, the pictorial and the dramatic are roads leading to the same end, the creation within the picture of a living reality. In no sense, however, is Giotto an illusionist. In details he reveals the keenest power of observation, and on occasion delights in some piece of looking-glass reproduction; but the reality he creates is of the picture and not of the external world.

The power to achieve this end was not fully developed in the St Francis series. It reaches maturity in Giotto’s next great undertaking, the decoration of the Arena Chapel at Padua, completed shortly after 1305. In design, the Chapel is little more than an oblong box, its inside covered with painting. Assistants were responsible for the decoration of the roof, and later followers for the painting of the choir. But the scenes from the story of Joachim and Anna, from the life of the Virgin, and from the life and Passion of Christ, which decorate the north and south walls of the nave and the choir arch, the figures of Virtues and Vices below them, and the Last Judgment on the entrance wall, are either by Giotto himself or painted directly under his inspiration. In these every characteristic of the Assisi paintings is seen developed and brought into greater harmony with the others. A power of psychological analysis and a pitch of emotional intensity is attained, rarely equalled by any artist, yet without a trace of exaggeration or sentimentality; the expression of space is more complete and the relation of objects therein is more assured; and by the subjection of individual colours to the control of a general tone a suggestion of enveloping light and air is given.

Between his stay at Padua and his death in 1336, Giotto worked not only in Florence, but at Naples, probably at Bologna and Rimini, and at Milan. Possibly also he visited Avignon, and he is said to have gone to Paris. Of all this varied activity, however, practically nothing remains except in Florence. There, at some date after 1317, he decorated the Bardi chapel in Santa Croce with scenes from the life of St Francis, and at about the same period the Peruzzi chapel in the same church with scenes from the lives of the two St Johns. Of these, the Peruzzi chapel paintings have been so restored as to make them almost valueless. Those of the Bardi chapel are much better preserved, and in them may be seen certain developments in Giotto’s art. The fundamental characteristics of the Paduan series are all present, but receive a different emphasis. The psychological analysis is even more subtle and varied, but the dramatic oppositions are less strong and the action more restrained. The expression of a third dimension is as complete as formerly, but the influence of light plays a larger part. For the first time in the history of painting, light is used not only as a means of defining individual forms, but as an element pervading the whole scene, establishing unity of time and place and defining the relation of individual forms one to another. This is completely exemplified in one of the most impressive and moving of the frescoes, the Death of St Francis. No violent chiaroscuro is used- the light has a gentle ambient quality, appropriate to the delicate restraint with which the subject is treated. But there are definite cast shadows, and the lights are modulated according to their relation to one source, so that the sense of one place and one atmosphere is firmly established.

On Giotto’s artistic personality the rare panel paintings by him throw no additional light, nor do his activities as architect and sculptor. In 1334 he was appointed chief architect of the cathedral of Florence, and he is traditionally credited with the design of the famous campanile. But how far the present form is due to him is unknown; and equal uncertainty surrounds his share in the reliefs which decorate its lower storey. After his death, the main centre of artistic influence passed to Siena, where Simone Martini had developed an art whose main inspiration came from Duccio and Northern Gothic. The earliest fully authenticated work by him which survives is the large fresco of the Virgin and Child enthroned and surrounded by saints, in the former Council Chamber of the Palazzo Pubblico at Siena, signed and dated 1315. The design derives from Duccio’s Maestà, and the principal saints represented are the same. Even more explicitly than that work, the painting marks the supremacy in Siena of the cult of the Virgin. It carries inscriptions exhorting to justice and righteousness, the Virgin being conceived as presiding over the deliberations of the city government. The isolation of the enthroned Virgin and Child, and the distinguished bearing and dignified gestures of the attendant figures, create an atmosphere of courtly elegance, and witnesses the influence of that aspect of the Northern Gothic spirit which found expression in the feudal hierarchy and the courts of chivalry. Gothic influence also appears in the emphasis on the vertical lines of the design, in the pinnacles and delicate tracery of the throne, and in the flowing lines of the drapery. In Simone’s later work Ducciesque and Gothic elements are more completely fused into a personal style, marked by pensive, gracious figures, more human and consciously elegant than in Duccio, and by a keen feeling for the decorative beauty of line and colour. The most ambitious surviving work by Simone, the decoration of the chapel of St Martin in the Lower Church at Assisi, reveals little of Giotto’s psychological penetration and dramatic power, despite the carefully studied realism in action and expression. Yet by virtue of Simone’s special gifts, it is more completely satisfactory as decoration of a wall within a given architectural setting than any work by Giotto. These special gifts found their full expression in an Annunciation in the Uffizi, dated 1333, in which Simone’s brother-in-law, Lippo Memmi, collaborated with him. In the central panel by Simone himself the Sienese tradition and the influence of Northern Gothic have met in perfect union, to produce one of the most exquisite works in the history of Italian art. The problems of space and movement which Giotto raised and solved, and which later generations of Florentines were to develop and overcome, are here set aside in favour of bold and subtle linear rhythms, delicious harmonies and contrasts of colour, and delicately wrought detail; all inspired by a mystic, contemplative spirit, remote from the ordinary passions of mankind.

In 1339 Simone settled at Avignon, where he died in 1344, the central figure of a considerable group of painters. His influence, if less widespread and subversive than Giotto’s, was profound in the channels within which it ran. It powerfully affected the course of Sienese art in the fourteenth and most of the fifteenth century; it is stamped upon the Trecento painters of Naples and Pisa, where Simone had worked; and as mentioned earlier it travelled north from Avignon to give a new orientation to Northern Gothic painting, and to lay the foundations of the international Gothic style of the late fourteenth century. On his immediate followers it is unnecessary to dwell. Some were accomplished painters, with distinct individualities, notably Barna of Siena; but substantially their ideas and methods did not pass beyond those of Simone. The case is different with two younger contemporaries of Simone, the brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Their work owes little to Simone Martini or to Gothic art, and is mainly a direct development from Duccio, modified by the influence of Giotto and the Pisan sculptors. This appears in the earliest signed work by Pietro, a polyptych in the Pieve of Arezzo, the contract for which is dated 1320, and in an altarpiece painted in 1329 for the Carmelite Church in Siena, which marks the transition to Pietro’s mature style, characterised by an admirable balance of decorative claims with monumental design and by poignant though restrained emotion. A celebrated example is the fresco of the Virgin and Child between St Francis and St John the Evangelist in the south transept of the Lower Church at Assisi, in which an unusual strain of tenderness softens the painter’s natural austerity. This austerity, however, reasserts itself in a Crucifixion and a Descent from the Cross, part of a series of scenes from the Passion near at hand in the same church; and joined with profundity of feeling and grandeur of design makes these paintings comparable with the work of Giotto. But a Sienese instinct for decoration has prevented the breaking up of the wall surface, the painting being treated as a great bas-relief, with a rhythmic sweep of contour as the painter’s chief preoccupation. Asimilar successful adjustment of the claims of dramatic action, of the third dimension, and of surface unity is revealed in the latest known painting by Pietro, an altarpiece signed and dated 1342, representing the Birth of the Virgin, now in the Opera del Duomo at Siena. The figures are admirably disposed in space and all play their part in the little domestic drama, their dignity relieved by delicate touches of realism in expression and gesture; while the whole builds up into an imposing linear pattern.

The earliest accepted work by Ambrogio Lorenzetti is a Virgin and Child at Vico l’Abate, dated 1319, which reflects in its types the influence of Duccio, and in its sculpturesque treatment that of Niccola and Giovanni Pisano. In later work a more free and rhythmic play of contour suggests contact with Northern Gothic, and an increasing mastery over space expression and dramatic narrative the influence of Giotto.

To Ambrogio’s maturity belongs the famous altarpiece at Massa Marittima, with the Virgin and Child enthroned and surrounded by saints and angels. This third Maestà of the Sienese Trecento differs strikingly from its predecessors. In contrast with the gracious dignity of Duccio’s figures and the courtly elegance of Simone Martini’s is the massive construction and vigorous action of Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s; while a note of gaiety is struck, which has a counterpart in the decorative effect of the delicate, clear colour and the rich gilding. Similar characteristics mark Ambrogio’s best known work, the three frescoes in the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena, completed in 1339, one containing elaborate symbolical representations of Good and Bad Government, the others showing their consequences. Individual figures in the first fresco are among the finest Ambrogio ever produced, akin to fine classical sculpture in their dignity and the understanding of construction they reveal. But, in general, pictorial effect has been sacrificed to didactic and allegorical needs; and disproportion in the figures, and their alternate isolation and crowding, confuse the design. In the Consequences of Good Government, the architectural and landscape setting is skilfully constructed, and the little figures at work or play are delightfully alert and naturalistic. But neither this nor the almost ruined Consequences of Bad Government contain anything to compare with the majestic figures in the adjoining fresco; and they owe their charm mainly to the tapestry-like pattern they make upon the wall.

The race of great painters in Siena came to an end with the disappearance of the Lorenzetti. They had few immediate followers and their limited influence on the next generation was soon displaced by that of Simone Martini and of Northern Gothic, which shaped the later work of such painters as Lippo Vanni and Bartolo di Fredi, and dominated that of Andrea Vanni and Taddeo di Bartolo. From these painters in turn descended another group, who were practically indifferent to the problems of form and movement which fascinated their Florentine contemporaries; and who gave themselves up to the creation of lovely Madonnas and to vivacious story-telling, enriched with every possible refinement of pattern and colour they could devise. Sassetta, Giovanni di Paolo, and Sano di Pietro, enchanting as they can be, entirely lack the imaginative force and large rhythms of the Lorenzetti. Their work may titillate the senses, but it never stirs the blood. So, the seed of the Renaissance found but sterile soil in Siena; and such fruit as it produced there in the late fifteenth century was little more than an imitation and adaptation of the greater art of Florence.

Meanwhile, in Florence, Giotto’s dominant personality had bred a succession of increasingly feeble imitators who perpetuated the outward form of his work, though incapable of assimilating its informing spirit. Yet even during his lifetime, ideals and methods different from his were evident; and the history of Trecento art in Florence is largely that of artists in whose work influences from Siena and from the North modified and even transformed the Giottesque tradition. In this process imitation played a larger part than independent thought, and few outstanding personalities emerged. Quite apart stands the sculptor Andrea Pisano, whose work, derived directly from Giovanni Pisano, was touched by the influence of Giotto, and received high distinction through his own personality. Only one work certainly by him survives, the bronze doors of the south entrance to the Baptistery at Florence, decorated with reliefs of scenes from the life of St John the Baptist and of personifications of the Virtues. These are signed and dated 1330, the date when the model was finished; the doors themselves being finished and in position by 1336. The designs fill their allotted spaces admirably and combine dignified simplicity with extraordinary variety. The relief is never unduly accentuated, and no extravagant feats of foreshortening or recession are attempted; yet space in which the action can take place is adequately suggested. The figures themselves in proportions and drapery occasionally suggest classical prototypes, and are marked by a restrained naturalism which never degenerates into triviality; while the dramatic feeling, though vigorous, is kept well under control. The same elements are present that make up the art of Giotto; but the sculptor has greater feeling for grace and charm than the painter.

Upon the immediate followers of Giotto it is unnecessary to dwell at length. Names such as Stefano, Buffalmaco, and Puccio Capanna have come down to us, with which no work can be securely associated; while there is a large group of paintings directly inspired by Giotto, such as the St Nicholas and St Mary Magdalene series in the Lower Church at Assisi, and the allegorical representations of the Franciscan virtues in the vault of the crossing, whose painters are unknown. Attempts to attach recorded names to anonymous works have been frequent, but have so far yielded no convincing results. Among distinguishable artistic personalities are the master of the St Cecilia altarpiece in the Uffizi, who completed Giotto's St Francis series, and Jacopo del Casentino, both of them minor artists. Of greater interest is Taddeo Gaddi (ob. 1366), a prolific painter whose decoration of the Baroncelli chapel in Santa Croce with scenes from the life of the Virgin is an unconvincing compromise between the aims and methods of Giotto and the claims of decorative effect varied by occasional invention in the treatment of light.

Among later painters directly influenced by Giotto an outstanding figure is one Maso, painter of the scenes from the life of St Sylvester in Santa Croce, a mysterious figure whose identity has become almost inextricably confused with that of another painter, Giottino. His spacious dignified designs, in which colour defines form and suggests light, and his psychological insight and dramatic power, make him worthy of comparison with Giotto; but Sienese influence has given his individual figures greater grace and elegance and encouraged a more anecdotal realism. In contrast, the work of Bernardo Daddi (active c. 1317-48) was increasingly dominated by Sienese and Gothic ideals, and in his late work everything is directed towards creating a richly decorated surface. Similarly, Andrea da Firenze (active 1343-77), now securely identified as painter of the well-known frescoes in the Spanish chapel in Santa Maria Novella, whole-heartedly adopted Sienese conventions in his vivacious epitome of the cultural and religious ideas of his day.

A distinct and intermediate group is formed by Andrea di Cionc, called Orcagna, his brothers Nardo and Jacopo, and their immediate followers. Two certain works by Orcagna himself survive: an altarpiece in Santa Maria Novella at Florence, signed and dated 1357, and the tabernacle in Or San Michele at Florence, completed according to an inscription in 1359. In the altarpiece, sculpturesque heads and the dignified types reflect Giotto's influence, but mate unhappily with the linear elaboration of the drapery folds and the multiplication of surface ornament. In the Or San Michele tabernacle Orcagna achieved a successful combination of Italian Gothic design with mosaic and with sculpture which reveals the influence of Andrea Pisano. Dramatic action is subordinated to securing grace in movement and design; but dignity and simplicity are well preserved. -The famous painting of the Last Judgment in the Strozzi chapel in Santa Maria Novella was once universally considered as by Orcagna; but the difficulty of reconciling its style with that of the signed altarpiece has led to its being attributed to Nardo di Cione, though no work by him has yet been identified.

Outside Florence, Giotto’s influence had made itself felt chiefly in North and North-East Italy. In Lombardy, Italo-Byzantine conventions ruled until about the middle of the century, when a small group of Giottesque painters appeared, with Gothic influence modifying the proportions of their figures and their treatment of draperies and giving their work a marked genre character. On the Venetian mainland, Giotto’s influence was felt at Padua in the work of Guariento and Altichiero of Verona, together responsible for the charming frescoes in the chapel of San Giorgio. In Venice itself, looking towards the East, Byzantine designs and methods held sway until modified by influences direct from the North; while in Rimini, painters such as Giuliano da Rimini and his follower Baronzio owed emancipation from Byzantine convention primarily to Cavallini, though a number of paintings by unknown hands also witness the influence of Giotto.

Meanwhile Gothic influence had made itself felt to some extent in all the more important artistic centres of Italy. The connexion between France and Lombardy at the period was particularly close, and had its effect in Lombard miniature painting of the period. An early example is the work of Giovannino dei Grassi (ob. 1398), sculptor and architect, best known by a remarkable book of drawings of birds and animals in the Municipal Library at Bergamo, which are an exact parallel to the drawings with which Northern artists illustrated bestiaries and treatises on hunting and enriched other works. From Verona and Venice, the main roads to the north ran over the passes into Austria and Southern Germany; and Northern influence on their art came chiefly through those countries, as is evident in the work of Stefano da Verona (active 1485-38), a master of dainty realism and delicate decoration. In Venice itself, the presence of Gentile da Fabriano combined with Northern influence to produce painters such as Jacobello di Fiore (active 1415-38) and Giambono (active 1420-62), who, with Antonio Vivarini of Murano and Giovanni d’Alamagna, are minor figures in the transition from Byzantine to Renaissance art in Venice.

Gentile da Fabriano himself is a far more important product of Northern influence in Italy. Of Umbrian origin, he worked in many places, especially in North Italy; and in his earlier work contact with Gothic art is evident. To his maturity belongs an Adoration of the Magi in the Uffizi, dated 1423, in which linear pattern and exquisite detail are so enriched with gold and colour as to make it one of the most delightful pieces of decoration produced in Western Europe. Virtually, the painting is a miniature from a manuscript, on a vast scale. Considerations of space, movement, individual psychology, drama, play no part. It is a scene from a gorgeous pageant of medieval court life, frozen into immobility for the spectators’’ perpetual delight. It is the culmination of a phase in painting, so perfect within its limited range as almost to deny the possibility of farther progress save by a change in ideals. That change is foreshadowed in Gentile’s latest work, in which a dawning interest in human personality and its embodiment reflects the influence on a purely medieval painter of humanist ideas.

In Jacopo Bellini, a native of Venice, these ideas wrought a greater change, and made him the chief precursor of the great age of painting in Venice. In 1423 he seems to have been assistant to Gentile da Fabriano in Florence, where a turmoil of eager experiment and creative activity set its mark on his work. His chief monument is two volumes of drawings in the British Museum and the Louvre. His medieval origins are revealed in numerous detached and realistic studies of animals and genre scenes; but a new orientation appears in his compositions, both from the Old and New Testament, in which decorative and realistic trivialities are disregarded in favour of broad sweeping design and dramatic emphasis. The direct influence of classical art appears in drawings of classical architecture and sculpture, and in the choice of classical subj ects; human anatomy, the nude, and movement are investigated; and elaborate studies in perspective and foreshortening are made. New sources of inspiration, humanism and scientific curiosity, are at work; and new weapons are being forged to express new ideas. Jacopo’s paintings are less remarkable; but all reveal a feeling for noble design and for human emotion which foreshadows the triumphs of his great sons, Gentile and Giovanni.

In the work of Antonio Pisano, called Pisanello (ob. 1455), the parting of the ways is even more clear. As draughtsman and painter, he belongs mainly to the Middle Ages; as medallist, he is in the full stream of the Renaissance. His art, even more than that of Gentile, is one of pageantry and courtly display. Almost entirely it was devoted to the service of the great princely houses of Italy, for whom he not only executed paintings and medals, but designed jewellery and costumes. For these purposes he made a large number of drawings, which combine such extraordinary acuteness of observation with power and delicacy of craftsmanship that it has needed the evidence of camera and cinematograph to verify some of the movements and attitudes recorded. In these drawings, which Pisanello made throughout his career, descent from the Northern illuminators and their Lombard followers is clear; in the paintings, which belong to the earlier part of his life, the emphasis on linear pattern and the elaboration of decorative and genre detail are equally witness to Northern influence. In contrast are the medals, of which the earliest is one of the Emperor John Palaeologus, probably executed about 1438. The medal, as commemorating human personality and achievement, was a fit vehicle for embodiment of the spirit of humanism, and so Pisanello used it. His portraits of the great figures of his day are among the most vigorous and living memorials of them which have come down to us. It is, however, on the reverse of his medals that Pisanello’s genius finds complete scope. Heraldic devices, impress incidents serious or humorous referring to the sitter, with or without lettering, are used singly or in combination to construct designs of singular perfection, admirably filling the allotted circle, exquisite in detail but monumental in effect, whose degree of relief is perfectly adjusted to the area they occupy.

In Florence the Gothic ideal found its last and greatest exponent in Lorenzo Monaco, and in his work took on a definitely Tuscan character. His elegant and slender figures, and the elaboration and swing of their draperies, do not prevent the sculpturesque character of the forms being maintained; and in thus establishing a balance between the claims of decorative effect and of the third dimension, Lorenzo Monaco preserves in some degree the Giottesque tradition and is related to the Lorenzetti. In his later work a simpler treatment of the draperies and a more carefully studied relation of the forms in space appear: a development which reaches a climax in a Coronation of the Virgin in the Uffizi, dated 1413, and reveals that, after temporary eclipse, the leaven of methods and ideals akin to those of Giotto if not directly inspired by him was again working in Florence. An even more striking example of this is the work of Masolino da Panicale. Among the few fully authenticated works by him are two sets of frescoes at Castiglione d’Olona, near Varese; one in the choir of the Collegiata, representing scenes from the Life of the Virgin and from the early life of Christ, painted c. 1425, the other in the Baptistery, representing scenes from the life of St John the Baptist, painted in 1435 according to a renewed inscription. In the earlier work, Gothic influence has inspired the attenuated figures, frail and insubstantial, with draperies falling in flowing decorative curves. In the interval between this and the later work, the genius of Masaccio had stamped itself on Florence; and primarily under the influence of this, Masolino’s figures have taken on a new solidity and a new vigour of action, together with a new unity in an adequate three-dimensional space.

The change mirrored in the work of Masolino is the change from medieval to renaissance art. From the early fifteenth century onward, medieval conceptions and methods might still find favour with certain artists, or leave their imprint on men inspired by other ideals; but they appeared as survivals from an earlier age, unconnected with the main currents of thought and action. This fundamental change had its principal centre of radiation in Florence. Discussion of its causes belongs to the general cultural history of the period. Here, it is only necessary to emphasise that the revival of classical learning and of enthusiasm for classical literature and art was less a cause than an effect. Primarily, the Renaissance was a change in attitude towards life, which seeking for a touchstone found it in classical antiquity. Knowledge of the ancient world had never been lost during the Middle Ages, but in the fifteenth century that knowledge acquired a new use and value, which in turn stimulated its growth.

In art, this change in attitude towards life affected both spirit and form. The development of humanistic ideas took God away from the centre of the cosmos and put man in His place. The Christian religion continued to supply the majority of themes to the artist, but the human element was given increasing grandeur and significance, while the divine became more and more human. At the same time, subjects drawn from classical mythology became more common, in which anthropomorphic instincts found full scope, while historical events and incidents from secular literature provided material in which man occupied the whole stage. The development of portraiture is another aspect of the same tendency, reflecting the increased importance of human personality and the growth of self-consciousness. In form, change came chiefly through the spirit of scientific enquiry which was abroad. Imitation of detail and conventional formulas for the reproduction of appearance no longer satisfied artists. They became interested in problems of basic structure, and so the study of human anatomy developed and the increased use of the nude figure, while action, gesture, and facial expression became the objects of elaborate analysis. In this search for a more penetrating realism the antique provided both an incentive and a restraining force. With classical art in the eyes and minds of artists, Gothic standards became discredited, while feeling for harmony, balance, and proportion was inculcated, which saved Italian art from following the same path as the art of Flanders. At the same time, the problem arose, especially in painting, of so adjusting the relative size of individual forms and their relation in space as to give the appearance of the scene as a whole; and towards its solution was directed the study of perspective, and of light and shade. The one provided a logical framework, within which the problems of relative size and distance were automatically, if arbitrarily, solved; the other not only helped to give individual forms three-dimensional character, but joined perspective in securing unity, partly by enabling the artist to give emphasis at decisive points, partly by its power when adjusted with reference to one source of light to establish identity of time and of place throughout a scene. Here also, though less directly than in the case of individual forms, the influence of the antique played a part, in stimulating search for harmony, balance, and monumental character in design.

In all essentials, the aims and methods of Renaissance artists had been anticipated by Giotto; and it is from him and Andrea Pisano that the sculptors and painters of fifteenth-century Florence descend, rather than from their immediate predecessors. The first decisive manifestation of revival was in sculpture. In 1401 a competition was held for the design of the north doors of the Baptistery of Florence. Among the seven competitors were Filippo Brunelleschi, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Niccoló d’Arezzo, and Jacopo della Quercia, a constellation of extraordinary brilliance, in which every aspect of the early Renaissance spirit is represented. The subject set was a design for the Sacrifice of Abraham, within a panel of the same size and shape as those on the doors by Andrea Pisano. Ghiberti was the winner, and his panel is to-day in the Bargello with that of Brunelleschi.

Brunelleschi, perhaps because of his failure in the competition, abandoned sculpture for architecture, and became one of its greatest masters. In his competition panel the design is less skilfully planned and the technique less accomplished than in Ghiberti’s; but the figures have greater nobility and grandeur, evidently due to study from the antique, and are united by a more intense dramatic feeling.

Ghiberti, whatever his limitations as an artist, ranks among the finest craftsmen in metal that the West has produced; and by virtue of his writings ranks as one of the most important and reliable sources for the history of art in Florence. The works on which his reputation rests are the bronze doors for the north entrance of the Baptistery, which were completed in 1424, and a second pair of doors for the east entrance, commissioned in 1425 and finished in 1452, which Michelangelo pronounced worthy to be the gates of Paradise. The main decoration of the north doors consists of reliefs representing scenes from the life of Christ. In the figures, Gothic treatment of the drapery mingles with classic reminiscence in attitude and gesture to produce a studied elegance. Realistic and descriptive detail help to make the narrative vivid, though the dramatic effect is often weak. In the design, surfaces are broken up and planes put in recession to produce a pictorial effect, in sharp contrast to the concentration by Andrea Pisano on the frontal plane, inaugurating methods which Donatello was to use with unrivalled power. In the east doors, carrying reliefs of scenes from the Old Testament, increased influence of the antique is evident in greater suavity of form, while skill in modelling and casting has developed to yield an amazing variety in depth and angle of relief. In the interval between the completion of the two sets of doors, Donatello had reached maturity and Masaccio had been at work, and their influence is traceable in Ghiberti’s increasing effort to attain the effect of a painting and his consequent sacrifice of the qualities which give sculpture monumental and decorative character.

In contrast is the work of Jacopo della Quercia, born in Siena but singularly little affected by current Sienese fashions. In his work, the exquisiteness and pictorial elaboration of Ghiberti is replaced by monumental forms and large rhythms, which anticipate and, indeed, inspired Michelangelo. In his earliest known work, the sepulchral monument in Lucca Cathedral to Ilaria del Carretto, simplicity and breadth combine with delicacy to make the recumbent effigy one of the most spiritual creations of the Renaissance. Of the Fonte Gaio, designed for the Campo in Siena in 1419, only fragments remain; but in these the proportions of the figures, the balanced contrasts of plane and mass, and the massive sweep of the drapery, are those of the Cinquecento. The font of the Baptistery of Siena, designed by Jacopo and executed jointly with Donatello, Ghiberti, and others, is more Gothic in character; but nothing Gothic remains in Jacopo's most famous work, the portal of San Petronio at Bologna, on which he worked from 1425 until his death in 1438. This it was that fired the mind of Michelangelo when, as a comparatively young man, he visited Bologna, chiefly through the ten bas-reliefs on the pilasters, representing scenes from the Creation to the Sacrifice of Abraham. In these, no concession is made to the picturesque or the anecdotal. The figures fill most of the frontal plane, background and accessories being of the simplest, the relief low, the masses broad and simple. With no traceable imitation of the antique, they have all the grandeur and restraint of early Greek work. The gestures and attitudes are natural and unforced, yet intensely dramatic and expressive; and from their combination has arisen a series of designs, each with its own character but all alike monumental, all mingling subtlety in detail with breadth of statement, all conceived in three-dimensional space. Behind them lies a creative imagination comparable to that which covered the roof of the Sistine chapel.

But an even greater figure among sculptors of the period was Donatello. In him is concentrated every aspect of the Florentine feeling for form, and from him radiated influence throughout Italy. He greatly widened the range of sculpture. His bronze David was the first free standing nude figure cast in bronze since classical times; his equestrian statue at Padua to the condottiere Gattamelata, though not the first of its kind, created a type whose influence is not yet exhausted; and his were the earliest portrait busts made in Italy. Similarly, to established forms he gave new life. The pictorial possibilities of the relief he pushed almost to breaking point; the wall tomb was given a new dignity and a wider range; and his use of putti was little short of a new invention. Moreover, he was architectural designer as well as sculptor; and into such structures as the ciborium in St Peter's at Rome, and the framework of the Annunciation relief in Santa Croce at Florence, he introduced combinations of decorative motives, mainly derived from the antique, treated with a new freedom and boldness. In technique, Donatello likewise opened new paths. His work was sometimes coarse and hasty, but always spontaneous and direct, definitely divorcing sculpture from the work of the goldsmith; and in the adaptation of work to the position in which it was to be seen he was an innovator. Finally, behind this originality and resource lay deep and passionate emotion. In Donatello, the Renaissance spirit of scientific observation and enquiry was incarnate, driving him to a penetrating realism, saved from the sordid and commonplace by a dominating sense of man’s dignity and by a lyric or dramatic instinct. He explored not only the possibilities of form but of movement; and, both in single figures and in compositions, there is a poise, a suggestion of capacity for change, which gives a vitality whose exuberance anticipates baroque sculpture.

To Gothic art, Donatello owed little. Such early work as the marble David in the Bargello has Gothic swing and proportions, but in the slightly later St George from Or San Michele these have almost disappeared. The literal realism of the Poggio Bracciolini in the Cathedral of Florence and of the Zuccone on the Campanile is soon tempered, in such work as the magnificent bronze David of c, 1430 in the Bargello. After a visit to Rome, deliberate recollection of the antique is discernible in his work for a time, but soon becomes so merged in the artist’s own technique as to become part of his own personality, expressed in such masterpieces as the Annunciation relief in Santa Croce, the singing gallery from the Cathedral, and the bronze doors and the figures in the Old Sacristy at San Lorenzo. During his visit to Padua from 1443 to 1453, Donatello was at the height of his powers. There he executed the statue to Gattamelata and the bronze figures and the reliefs which glorify the high altar in the Santo, works which changed the whole current of art in Northern Italy and laid the foundations of the art of the Cinquecento there. That art was anticipated in Donatello’s work on his return to Florence. The reliefs on the pulpit of San Lorenzo, designed if not carried out by him, the Judith and Holofernes in the Loggia dei Lanzi, the St Mary Magdalene in the Baptistery, and the St John the Baptist in Siena Cathedral, have passed far beyond the limits of quattrocento ideas both in spirit and method. The stage is prepared for Michelangelo and, ultimately, for Bernini.

Expression of the Renaissance spirit in painting took much the same course as in sculpture. The relations of the two arts were so close that movement in the one almost inevitably produced corresponding movement in the other. Among the painters who mark the transition from Gothic to Renaissance art outstanding figures are Fra Angelico and Paolo Uccello. In Fra Angelico, a medieval spirit clothed itself in a Renaissance dress. Humanism as an attitude towards life scarcely touched him. He became a realist in his statement of the external facts of nature and their relations; but with human emotions and human drama he concerned himself little. His imagination created a world remote from all the passions of mankind, a mystic’s ecstatic vision of a perfect state, in which earthly events took on a heavenly significance. For him pain and sorrow cease to exist, and even Hell becomes only a fantastic dream. In the character of his imagination, Fra Angelico changed little; only in its outward expression do the Middle Ages and the Renaissance meet. His earlier work is in the full late Gothic tradition, and suggests the influence of Lorenzo Monaco. Later, as in such paintings as the Descent from the Cross in San Marco at Florence, the figures are more fully characterised and better constructed, problems of the third dimension receive more attention, and the introduction begins of a remarkable series of landscape backgrounds in which subtlety of observation is joined to breadth and atmospheric quality. At the same time, exquisite taste is shewn in the construction of a colour pattern. In this, Fra Angelico remained throughout faithful to Gothic ideals. He uses light and shade mainly to give individual forms solidity, not as a means of constructing a design, and never allows it to obscure the brightness and purity of his tints. The lovely Annunciation at Cortona closes the phase in Fra Angelico’s art in which Gothic influence still plays a considerable part. In the decoration of the cells and cloisters of the monastery of San Marco with a series of frescoes representing scenes from the Life and Passion of Christ, which was carried out with the help of assistants between 1437 and 1445, the Gothic elements are subordinate. There is a suggestion of them in the upward swinging design of the monumental Transfiguration, in which the figure of Christ has the solemn dignity of primitive sculpture; but they are completely absent from the half-length figures of Christ and of great Dominicans in the lunettes of the cloisters, in which Fra Angelico more nearly than in any other work expresses a humanist conception of his subject.

In contrast with Fra Angelico, Paolo Uccello to the end of his career retains Gothic mannerisms in his forms, though from the beginning he approaches his work in a scientific and humanist spirit. In his early work, the slender figures, the decorative emphasis on outline, and a fantastic element in the forms, witness Gothic influence, and possibly that of Pisanello, with whom Uccello might have come into touch during a visit to Venice. In the much repainted equestrian effigy of Sir John Hawkwood in the cathedral of Florence, successful mimicry of sculpture does not prevent the main emphasis being on profile; and this holds true of Uccello’s best known work, the three battle scenes representing the defeat of the Sienese by the Florentines at San Romano in 1432, distributed among the Uffizi, the Louvre, and the National Gallery. In these, in the frescoes telling the story of Noah in the cloisters of Santa Maria Novella at Florence, and in a predella representing the story of the Profanation of the Host, executed in 1468 for the Confraternity of Corpus Domini at Urbino, the intention to use line and colour primarily for decoration is evident, combined with a passionate interest in problems of foreshortening and perspective. Uccello’s attitude towards these latter has often been misunderstood. That they are used to create illusion is highly unlikely, since all other means to that end are neglected. Rather they seem directed towards giving a firm and logical framework to the picture, so that in constructing a pattern problems of recession and proportion should automatically be solved. In Paolo Uccello there is nothing of Fra Angelico’s mystic vision; his passion is rather that of the scientist absorbed in a problem whose solution will remove all difficulties. His modern counterpart is Seurat, with his calculated pointillism; and like Seurat, his greatness as an artist depends more on such imponderable matter as design and colour than on the machinery he uses.

With the rise of Masaccio, a figure comparable in stature to Donatello appears among painters. In his brief life—he was born in 1401 and died between 1427 and 1429—he gave expression to every aspect of Renaissance thought, and set Florentine painting upon the road it was to travel until its decay. In his case, the question of origins is unimportant beside that of achievement. His early work, such as the Virgin and Child with St Anne in the Uffizi, reveals him as a follower of Masolino. His subsequent relations with that painter are obscure; and there is a well-marked group of work, certainly by the same hand, which some writers regard as by Masolino working under the influence of Masaccio, and others as early works by Masaccio himself. Fortunately, to understand and appreciate Masaccio, decision on the matter is needless, since paintings indisputably by him exist. Among these is the altarpiece of 1426 painted for the Carmine Church at Pisa, the centre panel of which, representing the Virgin and Child enthroned with angels, is in the National Gallery at London. Not since Giotto painted had so massive and imposing a figure as the Madonna, conceived and carried out in three dimensions, been seen in Tuscany. Distinction, elegance, and grace have been disdained in favour of robustness and vitality. Mother and Child alike are heroic but not divine; made in a larger mould than humanity but of the same clay. Yet for all its qualities, the Pisa Madonna is gauche and immature when set beside the frescoes which decorate the Brancacci chapel, in the Carmine Church at Florence. Those undoubtedly by Masaccio are the Expulsion from Paradise, Christ and the Tribute Money, St Peter distributing the goods of the community, St Peter baptizing, St Peter’s shadow healing the maimed, and the Resurrection of the Prefect’s Son, of which part was executed by Filippino Lippi. In these, human personality is given an emphasis and a dignity such as it had rarely received before in Christian art. Each figure is searchingly characterised, firmly constructed, given its appropriate and significant action or attitude; each seems to stand by itself, a complete being conscious of itself, of its own weaknesses and strengths. Yet individuality has not meant isolation, and in each fresco the forms are brought into unity. Grasp of perspective has provided a firm scaffolding on which to hang construction in space, and almost for the first time in the history of painting every part of the picture is seen and treated in definite relation to a given source of illumination. In this, Masaccio reveals his grasp of the mechanism of painting; in the noble rhythm of his design, and in his power not only to express human emotion but to give it a point of dramatic concentration, he becomes a great artist. His art is founded on intense observation and knowledge of men and nature, inspired by a vivid imagination, guided and controlled by a profound feeling for pictorial and dramatic construction; an art that picked up the torch lighted by Giotto, and handed it on to Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo.