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OverviewIn the late fifteenth century, Florence had much more woodcarvers than butchers, arguing that art, even an ext than meat, to be a necessity of life. This was true not just for the wealthy, but additionally for those of much more modest means. In 1472, the city boasted 54 workshops because that marble and stone; it employed 44 understand gold- and also silversmiths, and at the very least thirty master painters. Florence"s place in the wool and also silk markets relied on its reputation for quality—a heritage of craftsmanship that made discerning patrons of its merchants and also financiers.Most commissions were for spiritual works. Numerous banking families, for example, perceived the funding of altarpieces and also chapels as a kind of penance because that usury (moneylending in ~ interest), which was condemned through the church but inherent to your profession. Together the 1400s progressed, however, patrons ended up being increasingly interested in personal fame and also worldly prestige. Lavish, even ostentatious, public screen became an ext common, even as the fortunes of the city declined. Brand-new subjects indigenous mythology uncovered eager audience impressed through such proof of learning. And, through the end of the century—for the first time since antiquity—some arts was being made merely "for art"s sake."Among the biggest patrons in 15th-century Florence to be members of the powerful Medici family, that ruled together princes, despite the city was, in name, a republic. The works in this tour day from the moment of Lorenzo de" Medici, the Magnificent, who Machiavelli referred to as "the greatest patron the literature and also art that any type of prince has ever been." back Lorenzo himself i was delegated relatively few major works, that was an important arbiter the taste. One avid collector the Greek and Roman antiquities, he assisted imprint the Florentine Renaissance with the humanism of the ancient world.One that the artist employed through the Medici to be Botticelli, a member that Lorenzo"s one of poets and also scholars. Botticelli"s lyrical paintings matched the cerebral refinement the Florence"s humanists, specifically the Neoplatonic philosophers, that saw beauty as a means to strategy an knowledge of the divine. Botticelli"s ethereal figures, identified by line quite than modeled with light and also shadow, seem to float, their drapery billowing in graceful patterns. His subjects, both mythological and also religious, space imbued through lyricism and mystery.Despite their pleasure in pagan themes, many Florentine humanists continued to be deeply pious. In the 1480s and 1490s, the Dominican friar Savonarola gave impassioned sermons attacking luxury and also the amorality of ancient gods. The attracted countless followers, including, it seems, Botticelli, that abandoned superordinary subjects. After ~ Lorenzo the Magnificent died in 1492, economic and also political catastrophes put Florence in the hands of Savonarola"s radical spiritual reformers. Vigilantes patrolled the streets, and also citizens consigned luxury goods, consisting of untold number of paintings and other functions of art, to the spend flames that bonfires.

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Florentine 15th or 16th Century, most likely after a model by Andrea del Verrocchio and Orsino Benintendi, Italian, 1440 - c. 1498, Lorenzo de" Medici, 1478/1521, painted terracotta, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1943.4.92


Giuliano Medici, the younger brother of Lorenzo, was nursing a poor knee on Easter day 1478 and also had come be aided to the cathedral—by the really men that were plotting to death him and his brother during mass. The assassins, members and also supporters the the Pazzi family, bank rivals the the Medici, awaited your signal. Together worshipers bowed their heads at the key of the host, Giuliano was brutally stabbed. Lorenzo escaped to the sacristy, remaining there while the Pazzi partisans attempted to seize the government. They quickly failed, however, and also Lorenzo resumed control.The killing of Giuliano shocked Florence, and a number of portraits were ordered for public display to serve both together memorials and as warnings to various other plotters. Botticelli"s painting may have been the prototype because that others, and lent symbolic gravity to Guiliano’s passing, showing him as an icon, virtually a saint. The open window and mourning dove were familiar symbols the death, alluding to the trip of the soul and also the deceased"s passage to the afterlife. Some scholars, note the lower eyelids, indicate this portrait was painted posthumously from a fatality mask.

Sandro Botticelli, Italian, 1446 - 1510, Giuliano de" Medici, c. 1478/1480, tempera on panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1952.5.56


For most of the fifteenth century, the Epiphany was celebrated in Florence with a good festival. Expensively clad citizens reenacted the trip of the three kings to Bethlehem with processions with the streets. Shortly before this work-related was painted, however, the elaborate pageantry of the festival to be curtailed. Preachers choose Savonarola complained that excessive luxury hidden the day"s spiritual significance.Botticelli"s paint seems to reflect this new concern. He places Jesus in ~ the center of a an effective X formed by the opposing triangle of kneeling worshipers and also the roof of the manger. The viewer, fairly than being overwhelmed by rich detail, is instead aware of the quiet distance between him and also the divine figures—and choose the worshipers in the painting leans toward the infant. This yearning to close the gap in between human existence and the magnificent was a constant Neoplatonic theme.Botticelli may have actually painted this when in Rome functioning on the Sistine Chapel. Rearing equines in the background, for example, show up to reflect the colossal equines of the Dioscuri. The classical style of the manger and also the crumbling ruins likewise have theological significance. Legend organized that earthquakes destroyed pagan temples at the moment Christ to be born, and also in a an ext general sense ruins imply that the old stimulate of the legislation of Moses is supplanted through the brand-new era of elegant made possible by Christ"s birth.

Sandro Botticelli, Italian, 1446 - 1510, The Adoration of the Magi, c. 1478/1482, tempera and also oil top top panel, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.22


Subjects favor this one, taken indigenous the works of the old Roman writer Livy, shown the learning and sophistication of Renaissance patrons and also were particularly popular in domestic settings. The size of this painting says that it to be probably shown like a frieze with other panels in the home of a affluent Florentine family.Here, the roman inn senate honors the hero Camillus with a triumphal parade through Rome. Camillus reverted from exile to rescue Rome native besieging Gauls. When educated that the city was ready to capitulate through paying off the enemy, Camillus stirred his troops and fellow citizens with powerful rhetoric. "With iron," he said, "and not v gold, Rome buys her freedom." This heart of republican virtue appealed come fifteenth-century Florentines, that regarded ancient Rome as a paradigm because that their own city. The scene"s relationship was amplified by its modern costumes and also other familiar details. The decorated parade floats recalled the lavish spectacle that processions in Florence. The battered and blood-stained walls of the city enclose several structures that can be well-known in Rome, including the dome of the Pantheon and the drums of Castel Sant"Angelo. The heraldic colors that drape the equines probably belonged come the painting"s patron, as yet unidentified.

Biagio d"Antonio and also Workshop, Italian, c. 1446 - 1516, The Triumph of Camillus, c. 1470/1475, tempera top top panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1939.1.153


Small devotional pictures such together this were produced in huge numbers by craftsmen and also lesser-known artists because that the houses of Florence"s center class. This artists frequently filled in at leading workshops when extra aides were essential for necessary commissions. Us know, because that example, the Jacopo worked with Filippo Lippi, Ghirlandaio, and also Botticelli.This painting reflects the concerns of Florentine merchants and also their pride in the city. Man the Baptist was the patron saint the Florence, and also we view him here prior to the city skyline. Clean in the distant landscape are the Palazzo Vecchio, center of the city administration; Brunelleschi"s huge cathedral dome; and also the campanile draft by Giotto. (It is among our earliest painted see of Florence.) other details preserve a traditional, conservative religious outlook. The bowl at the saint"s foot recalls his baptism that Christ, when goldfinches, who red markings were thought to have actually been made by Christ"s crown the thorns, remind viewers that the Crucifixion. Most telling is the axe sunken into the tree trunk in ~ the left edge of the painting, which describes Luke 3:9: "every tree because of this which bringeth not forth an excellent fruit is hewn down." This to be a pointed warning versus the unorthodox ideas of few of the city"s patrician elite, echoing Savonarola"s sermons against their dangerously paganlike tendencies.

Jacopo del Sellaio, Italian, 1441/1442 - 1493, Saint john the Baptist, c. 1480, oil on panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1939.1.283

The workshop the a Renaissance artist to be both studio and also school, wherein apprentices to be trained to paint in the format of the master. Since big commissions compelled the efforts of many painters, backgrounds, still-life details, and an additional figures were regularly painted by assistants. A understand might also give lesser commissions completely over come his assistants, simply giving the work-related as meeting his standard. It is often complicated to distinguish the occupational of the understand from the of talented assistants whose individual styles were not yet totally developed.This tiny devotional panel is painted in the style of Andrea del Verrocchio but is the work-related of one of his students, Lorenzo di Credi, who inherited the workshop once Andrea died. For inspiration Credi seems also to have actually looked to a fellow student—Leonardo da Vinci. This madonna is modeled after ~ one by Leonardo; in fact, the paint was when thought to be an early work through Leonardo. Yet the colors differ from Leonardo’s subdued palette, and the see lacks his cool mountains. Notice, too, the Virgin"s left hand, which holds a pomegranate, symbol of the Resurrection. In Leonardo"s painting she stop a carnation. Credi fail to change the position of she fingers, leaving her through an unnatural gesture unthinkable from together a to crawl observer of nature together Leonardo.

Lorenzo di Credi, Italian, c. 1457/1459 - 1536, Madonna and Child v a Pomegranate, 1475/1480, oil top top panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1952.5.65

In a city filled with artists, the busiest workshop in the later on 1400s was the of Domenico Ghirlandaio. His popularity rested on the conventional piety that his images, his direct and forthright style, and also his high criter of craftsmanship. These attributes probably appealed to the mean Florentine, that was less attracted through the humanist erudition and advanced tastes that enthralled the city"s elite. Works choose this devout image contrast with the sensuality and luxury denounced through Savonarola.The gold background is unusual—a small old-fashioned for a painting done in the 1470s. The is not clear whether the existing gilt surface (not original) replaced initial gilding or was applied over a now-obliterated landscape, such as seen somewhere else in this room. If the paint was gilded native the outset, this would have been mentioned in the contract in between artist and also patron. Till the mid-fifteenth century, the intrinsic value of materials—gold and costly colors such together ultramarine, which is do from the semiprecious stone lapis lazuli—accounted for lot of a painting"s worth. By the moment this occupational was made, however, the emphasis had shifted. Patrons had come to value rather the skill of the painter, as we do today.

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Italian, 1449 - 1494, Madonna and also Child, c. 1470/1475, tempera top top panel moved to hardboard, Samuel H. Kress collection 1961.9.49

Filippino was the child of the artist Fra Filippo Lippi. His father, however, passed away when the boy was only twelve, around the age when he would have begun his artistic training. Filippino"s education and learning was taken over by his father"s pupil, Botticelli, and their combination lasted countless years.This paint is most likely a an extremely early work by Filippino—some, in fact, believe it to be his earliest one come survive. In ~ this allude in his career, Filippino was still strongly under Botticelli"s influence. The lyrical and graceful line—the rippling cascades the drapery and the fanlike fall of fabric at the Virgin"s hem—show Filippino"s debt to his teacher, however the i was sure colors room the artist"s own. As his format matured, Filippino moved away indigenous the linearity of Botticelli. The diaphanous shimmer of fabric and sad delicacy of his deals with give his works an elusive and also poetic quality.The half-round form of this painting, referred to as a lunette, was used most regularly over doorways. Probably this one was inserted over the entrance to a private chapel or sacristy, however its original ar remains unknown.

Filippino Lippi, Italian, 1457 - 1504, The Coronation of the Virgin, c. 1475, oil and tempera (?) top top panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1943.4.36

This paint is based upon the book of Tobit which speak the story of Tobit the Nenevah. Tobit is explained as a guy of good faith who suffers indigenous blindness and also poverty. He sent out his son, Tobias, come a remote city to collection money he had deposited there, and hired a companion to accompany the youth. The companion was actually the archangel Raphael in disguise. Your journey to be successful: not just was the money recovered, yet medicine make from a monstrous fish Tobias encounters follow me the means cures Tobit"s blindness.

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In Hebrew, Raphael"s name means "God has actually healed." In this painting, Raphael stop a gold mortar supplied for compounding medicinal ingredients. Return the archangel is usually shown with a mortar or medication box, his identity below is developed by the visibility of Tobias stop a fish. Raphael is named only in the publication of Tobit.The story the Tobit may have been particularly popular in fifteenth-century Florence because of its very nice one to vendor families, who sons were often sent to profession in far-away cities. Paintings of Tobias and his angelic guardian were likely commissioned as dedications come ensure a safe journey, or offer thanks for a for sure return. The painting"s tip of reward for fair dealing may have actually been same welcome.

Filippino Lippi, Italian, 1457 - 1504, Tobias and the Angel, c. 1475/1480, oil and also tempera (?) top top panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1939.1.229