ITALIAN painting proper begins with the Proto-Renaissance at the end of the 13th century and extends to the middle of the 16th century, when it begins to decline. Its elements are both conservative and progressive. The conservative elements are found in the early Christian conceptions and forms preserved in Mediæval times, which survive in the Renaissance as a customary tradition. But these conservative elements, while fundamental, are subordinate to the progressive elements which develop the local schools of painting.
The art that extended over Italy from the 1st to the 4th centuries was imperial Græco-Roman art, having its basis in Greek tradition, frequently executed by Greeks but modified by Roman taste. It is this style which is perpetuated in early Christian art and which persisted in and about Rome until the Renaissance.
In the East grew up another form of the Imperial Classic style, also with a basis of Hellenistic Greek but deeply impregnated with oriental influence. The style was made prominent at Byzantium, which was the Eastern imperial capital from the____________________