A Short History of Italian Painting

By Alice Van Vechten Brown; William Rankin | Go to book overview

LESSER HIGH RENAISSANCE PAINTERS

FOLLOWING Leonardo, the supreme painters of the central Italian tradition are Michelangelo and Raphael. All three grew up under the shadow of the men of the Early Renaissance. All outlived the great epoch, and before Michelangelo's death the decadence, except in Venice, was fully under way; but Venice counted little in Florentine art, and as a setting to Michelangelo and Raphael we must consider the lesser Florentines.


I
PUPILS OF LEONARDO1

No direct pupil of Leonardo is highly important. During his maturity Venetian painting was dominant in Italy, and his influence is to be seen more in northern Europe. But he influenced several able painters of Milan, as the master of the Sforza Altarpiece (Brera), Bergognone, Luini, and Sodoma. Raphael studied Leonardo, and began to free himself from conventional formulas. In this sense Leonardo was a teacher of all who followed. Specific influence is harder to trace except in case of imitators of external style. In Florence, Piero di Cosimo most understood Leonardo's poetic interpretation of nature, and in his interest in tone in late work shows Leonardo's influence. Fra Bartolommeo also was influenced, both directly and through Piero, as in the early Noli Me Tangere ( Louvre), and Ridolfo Ghirlandaio in his remarkable portraits, though in some of the figures he catches Leonardo's external features rather than his spirit. Leonardo's influence in chiaroscuro may be seen in the 16th- century Flemings, as van Orley and Patiner. In general, later

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1
Morelli, Richter, and Frizzoni are the authorities for all the late men; also Berenson, N. It.

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