Sienese Painting

Sienese Painting

Sienese Painting

Sienese Painting

Excerpt

For some time now the traditional subdivision of art into "schools of painting" has begun to lose much of its importance. As the tendency to deal with individual artists increases and results in many monographs, other historical criteria and various considerations of critical emphasis have taken priority over those based on geographical phenomenon. As time goes on, words such as "Florentine School" or "Roman School", etc. have less meaning for us; indeed, they even arouse diffidence in some cases, or antipathy in others. There are times when it is not possible to define a painting more precisely than by referring to it as the product of a certain "school", but the trouble is that it seems to imprison creative activity into a net of conventionality and pedantry, and art, as we know, is an individual development. Nevertheless, the term "Sienese School," by which one indicates that period in painting which developed in Siena and its immediate surroundings from the thirteenth to the end of the fifteenth century, not only is still very valid in historical criticism but far from evoking the image of dry, antiquated handbook classifications, it carries with it certain subtle and poetic suggestions.

Indeed, the term testifies to one of the most unusual and fascinating events in the whole history of art: the rise and rapid development for more than three centuries of an exceptionally fertile, pictorial tra-

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