PADUA, more than Venice, was open to the intellectual and artistic life of the rest of Italy; she had developed a great University, and had encouraged the literary life; she had invited the most celebrated artists of Florence to work for her;2 yet she produced no important artist before Squarcione, and he is important rather from his impress upon others than from any work of his own. The Florentine artists had awakened the local masters to the deficiencies of the North Italian style--its ultra-conservatism of design and exotic motives.
Francesco Squarcione, the son of a Paduan notary, was at first a tailor and embroiderer by trade; but he early devoted himself to his natural passion for art of the new classic and naturalistic mode. He seems to have travelled extensively in the East, and to have collected examples of the antique with which, when he finally settled in Padua again, he incited and taught the numerous pupils and assistants that he gathered about him. We conceive of him as an enthusiastic collector and pioneer, of personal force of character, who expounded to his countrymen the new thought, and developed a manner which they understood and accepted once for all. After him there is no return to old forms.
The fundamental character of Squarcione's style is the complete rejection of Byzantine and Gothic motives, and a conscious____________________