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Title: Florence Vol 1 of 2

Date of first publication: 1901

Author: Grant Allen

Date first posted: Sep. 12, 2014

Date last updated: Sep. 12, 2014

Faded Page eBook #20140917

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Travel Lovers’ Library

Each in two volumes, profusely illustrated

Florence $3.00
By Grant Allen
Romance and Teutonic Switzerland 3.00
By W. D. McCrackan
The Same.—Unillustrated 1.50
Old World Memories 3.00
By Edward Lowe Temple
Paris 3.00
By Grant Allen
Feudal and Modern Japan 3.00
By Arthur May Knapp
The Same.—Unillustrated 1.50
The Unchanging East 3.00
By Robert Barr
Venice 3.00
By Grant Allen
Gardens of the Caribbees 3.00
By Ida M. H. Starr
Belgium: Its Cities 3.00
By Grant Allen
Rome 3.00
By Walter Taylor Field
Romantic Ireland 3.00
By M. F. and B. McM. Mansfield
China and Her People 3.00
By Hon. Charles Denby, LL. D.
Cities of Northern Italy 3.00
By Grant Allen and George C.
New England Building
Boston, Mass.





Grant Allen


Vol. I.



L. C. Page & Company



Copyright, 1901
By L. C. Page & Company

All rights reserved

Fourth Impression, July, 1906

Colonial Press
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, Mass., U. S. A.



The object and plan of this book is somewhat different from that of any other guides at present before the public. It does not compete or clash with such existing works; it is rather intended to supplement than to supplant them. My purpose is not to direct the stranger through the streets and squares of an unknown town toward the buildings or sights which he may desire to visit; still less is it my design to give him practical information about hotels, cab fares, omnibuses, tramways, and other everyday material conveniences. For such details, the traveller must still have recourse to the trusty pages of his Baedeker, his Joanne, or his Murray. I desire rather to supply the tourist who wishes to use his travel as a means of culture with such historical and antiquarian information as will enable him to understand, and therefore to enjoy, the architecture, sculp[x]ture, painting, and minor arts of the towns he visits. In one word, it is my object to give the reader in a very compendious form the result of all those inquiries which have naturally suggested themselves to my own mind during thirty-five years of foreign travel, the solution of which has cost myself a good deal of research, thought, and labour, beyond the facts which I could find in the ordinary handbooks.

For several years past I have devoted myself to collecting and arranging material for a book to embody the idea I had thus entertained. I earnestly hope it may meet a want on the part of tourists, especially Americans, who, so far as my experience goes, usually come to Europe with an honest and reverent desire to learn from the Old World whatever of value it has to teach them, and who are prepared to take an amount of pains in turning their trip to good account which is both rare and praiseworthy. For such readers I shall call attention at times to other sources of information.

The general plan pursued will be somewhat as follows. First will come the inquiry why a town ever gathered together at all at this particular spot—what induced the aggregation[xi] of human beings rather there than elsewhere. Next, we shall consider why this town grew to social or political importance and what were the stages by which it assumed its present shape. Thirdly, we shall ask why it gave rise to that higher form of handicraft which we know as Art, and toward what particular arts it especially gravitated. After that, we shall take in detail the various strata of its growth or development, examining the buildings and works of art which they contain in historical order, and, as far as possible, tracing the causes which led to their evolution. In particular, we shall lay stress upon the origin and meaning of each structure as an organic whole, and upon the allusions or symbols which its fabric embodies.

A single instance will show the method upon which I intend to proceed better than any amount of general description. A church, as a rule, is built over the body or relics of a particular saint, in whose special honour it was originally erected. That saint was usually one of great local importance at the moment of its erection, or was peculiarly implored against plague, foreign enemies, or some other pressing and dreaded misfortune. In dealing with such[xii] a church, then, I endeavour to show what were the circumstances which led to its erection, and what memorials of these circumstances it still retains. In other cases it may derive its origin from some special monastic body—Benedictine, Dominican, Franciscan—and may therefore be full of the peculiar symbolism and historical allusion of the order who founded it. Wherever I have to deal with such a church, I try as far as possible to exhibit the effect which its origin had upon its architecture and decoration; to trace the image of the patron saint in sculpture or stained glass throughout the fabric; and to set forth the connection of the whole design with time and place, with order and purpose. In short, instead of looking upon monuments of the sort mainly as the product of this or that architect, I look upon them rather as material embodiments of the spirit of the age—crystallisations, as it were, in stone and bronze, in form and colour, of great popular enthusiasms.

By thus concentrating attention on what is essential and important in the town, I hope to give in a comparatively short space, though with inevitable conciseness, a fuller account than is usually given of the chief architectural[xiii] and monumental works of the principal art-cities. Whatever I save from description of the Cascine and even of the beautiful Viale dei Colli (where explanation is needless and word-painting superfluous), I shall give up to the Bargello, the Uffizi, and the Pitti Palace. The passing life of the moment does not enter into my plan; I regard the town I endeavour to illustrate mainly as a museum of its own history.

For this reason, too, I shall devote most attention to what is locally illustrative, and less to what is merely adventitious and foreign. I shall deal rather with the Etruscan remains, with Giotto and Fra Angelico, with the Duomo and the Campanile, than with the admirable Memlincks and Rubenses of the Uffizi and the Pitti, or with the beautiful Van der Goes of the Hospital of Santa Maria. I shall assign a due amount of space, indeed, to the foreign collections, but I shall call attention chiefly to those monuments or objects which are of entirely local and typical value.

As regards the character of the information given, it will be mainly historical, antiquarian, and, above all, explanatory. I am not a connoisseur—an adept in the difficult modern[xiv] science of distinguishing the handicraft of various masters, in painting or sculpture, by minute signs and delicate inferential processes. In such matters, I shall be well content to follow the lead of the most authoritative experts. Nor am I an art-critic—a student versed in the technique of the studios and the dialect of the modelling-room. In such matters, again, I shall attempt little more than to accept the general opinion of the most discriminative judges. What I aim at rather is to expound the history and meaning of each work—to put the intelligent reader in such a position that he may judge for himself of the æsthetic beauty and success of the object before him. To recognise the fact that this is a Perseus and Andromeda, that a St. Barbara enthroned, the other an obscure episode in the legend of St. Philip, is not art-criticism, but it is often an almost indispensable prelude to the formation of a right and sound judgment. We must know what the artist was trying to represent before we can feel sure what measure of success he has attained in his representation.

For the general study of Christian art, alike in architecture, sculpture, and painting, no trea[xv]tises are more useful for the tourist to carry with him for constant reference than Mrs. Jameson’s “Sacred and Legendary Art,” and “Legends of the Madonna.” For works of Italian art, both in Italy and elsewhere, Kugler’s “Italian Schools of Painting” is an invaluable vade-mecum. These books should be carried about by everybody everywhere. Other works of special and local importance will occasionally be noticed under each particular city, church, or museum.

Wherever in the text paintings or other objects are numbered, the numbers used are always those of the latest official catalogue. Individual works of merit are distinguished by an asterisk; those of exceptional interest and merit have two asterisks.





      Introduction ix
I.   Origins of Florence 1
II.   Santa Croce and the Franciscan
  Quarter 10
III.   The Sacristy and the Chapels 24
IV.   Santa Maria Novella and the First
    Dominican Quarter 38
V.   The Spanish Chapel 59
VI.   The Old Cathedral 73
VII.   The New Cathedral 94
VIII.   The Second Dominican Quarter: San
    Marco 111
IX.   The Fra Angelicos of San Marco 123
X.   The Belle Arti 141
XI.   The Halls of Perugino and Botticelli 154
XII.   The Tuscan Galleries 175
XIII.   The Hall of Fra Angelico 199



Volume I.

Michael Angelo.—David (see page 151) Frontispiece
General View of Florence 6
Church of Santa Croce and Statue of
Dante 12
Interior of Santa Croce 16
Taddeo Gaddi.—Presentation of the Virgin 19
Giotto.—Raising of Drusiana 28
Tomb of Galileo Galilei 34
Strozzi Palace 39
Interior of Santa Maria Novella 44
Filippino Lippi.—Raising of Drusiana 48
Ghirlandajo.—Birth of John the Baptist
(Detail) 53
Green Cloister in Santa Maria Novella 61
Simone Martini.—Church Militant (Detail) 64
Taddeo Gaddi.—Glory of St. Thomas
Aquinas (Detail) 68
The Cathedral 76
Baptistery 80
Andrea Pisano.—Bronze Doors of the
Baptistery 82
Lorenzo Ghiberti.—Bronze Doors of the
Baptistery 88
Façade of the Cathedral 94
Interior of the Cathedral 99
The Campanile 110
Piazza and Church of San Marco 114
Fra Angelico.—Great Crucifixion 116
Fra Angelico.—Annunciation 124
Fra Angelico.—Coronation of the Virgin 128
Benozzo Gozzoli.—Portrait of Lorenzo
the Magnificent (Detail of the Journey of
the Three Kings to Bethlehem) 138
Cimabue.—Madonna 144
Perugino.—Assumption of the Virgin (Detail) 154
Filippo Lippi.—Coronation of the Virgin 160
Botticelli.—Three Graces (Detail of the
Primavera) 162
Botticelli.—Coronation of the Virgin 167
Filippino Lippi and Perugino.—Descent
from the Cross 170
Gentile da Fabriano.—Adoration of the
Magi 176
Fra Angelico.—Descent from the Cross 178
Giotto.—Adoration of the Magi 185
[xxi]Lorenzetti.—Presentation in the Temple 188
Carlo Dolci.—Eternal Father 197
Fra Angelico.—St. Cosimo and St. Damian 202
Fra Angelico.—Way to Calvary 205
Fra Angelico.—Last Judgment 208
Filippo Lippi.—Annunciation 212




Only two considerable rivers flow from the Apennines westward into the Mediterranean. The Tiber makes Rome; the Arno makes Florence.

In prehistoric and early historic times, the mountainous region which forms the basin of these two rivers was occupied by a gifted military race, the Etruscans, who possessed a singular assimilative power for Oriental and Hellenic culture. Intellectually and artistically, they were the pick of Italy. Their blood still runs in the veins of the people of Tuscany. Almost every great thing done in the Peninsula, in ancient or modern times, has been done by[2] Etruscan hands or brains. The poets and painters, in particular, with few exceptions, have been, in the wide ethnical sense, Tuscans.

The towns of ancient Etruria were hill-top strongholds. Florence was not one of these; even its neighbour, Fiesole (Faesulae), did not rank among the twelve great cities of the Etruscan league. But with the Roman conquest and the Roman peace, the towns began to descend from their mountain peaks into the river valleys; roads grew important, through internal trade; and bridges over rivers assumed a fresh commercial value. Florence (Florentia), probably founded under Sulla as a Roman municipium, upon a Roman road, guarded the bridge across the Arno, and gradually absorbed the population of Fiesole. Under the later empire, it was the official residence of the “Corrector” of Tuscany and Umbria. During the Middle Ages, it became for all practical purposes the intellectual and artistic capital of Tuscany, inheriting in full the remarkable mental and æsthetic excellences of the Etruscan race.

The valley of the Arno is rich and fertile, bordered by cultivable hills, which produce the[3] famous Chianti wine. It was thus predestined by nature as the seat of the second city on the west slope of Italy. Florence, however, was not always that city. The seaport of Pisa (now silted up and superseded by Leghorn) first rose into importance; possessed a powerful fleet; made foreign conquests; and erected the magnificent group of buildings just outside the town which still form its chief claim upon the attention of tourists. But Florence with its bridge commanded the inland trade, and the road to Rome from Germany. After the destruction of Fiesole in 1125, it grew rapidly in importance; and, Pisa having sustained severe defeats from Genoa, the inland town soon rose to supremacy in the Arno basin. Nominally subject to the Emperor, it became practically an independent republic, much agitated by internal quarrels, but capable of holding its own against neighbouring cities. Its chief buildings are thus an age or two later than those of Pisa; it did not begin to produce splendid churches and palaces, in emulation of those of Pisa and Siena, till about the close of the thirteenth century. To the same period belongs the rise of its literature, under Dante,[4] and its painting under Giotto. This epoch of rapid commercial, military, and artistic development forms the main glory of early Florence.

The fourteenth century is chiefly interesting at Florence as the period of Giottesque art, finding its final crown in Fra Angelico. With the beginning of the fifteenth, we get the dawn of the Renaissance—the age when art set out once more to recover the lost perfection of antique workmanship. In literature, this movement took the form of humanism; in architecture and sculpture, it exhibited itself in the persons of Alberti, Ghiberti, Della Robbia, and Donatello; in painting, it showed itself in Lippi, Botticelli, Ghirlandajo, and Verrocchio. I shall not attempt to set forth here the gradual stages by which these arts advanced to the height at length attained by Leonardo, Michael Angelo, and Raphael; I shall take it for granted that my readers will read up such questions for themselves in Kugler and Layard or other high-class authorities. Nor shall I endeavour to trace the rise of the dynasty of the Medici, whose influence was so great upon the artistic expression of their country; the limits of space which I have imposed upon myself here ren[5]der such treatment impossible. I will rather proceed at once to my detailed examination of the chief existing monuments of Florence in roughly chronological order, leaving these other facts to exhibit themselves piecemeal in their proper place, in connection with the buildings or pictures of the city. For in Florence more than elsewhere I must beg the reader to excuse the needful brevity which the enormous mass of noble works to be explained in this richest of art-cities inevitably entails upon me.

We start, then, with the fact that up to nearly the close of the thirteenth century (1278) Florence was a comparatively small and uninteresting town, without any buildings of importance, save the relatively insignificant Baptistery; without any great cathedral, like Pisa and Siena; without any splendid artistic achievement of any kind. It consisted at that period of a labyrinth of narrow streets, enclosing huddled houses and tall towers of the nobles, like the two to be seen to this day at Bologna. In general aspect, it could not greatly have differed from Albenga or San Gimignano in our own time. But commerce[6] was active; wealth was increasing; and the population was seething with the intellectual and artistic spirit of its Etruscan ancestry. During the lifetime of Dante, the town began to transform itself and to prepare for becoming the glorious Florence of the Renaissance artists. It then set about building two immense and beautiful churches—Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella—while, shortly after, it grew to be ashamed of its tiny San Giovanni (the existing Baptistery), and girded itself up to raise a superb Cathedral, which should cast into the shade both the one long since finished at maritime Pisa, and the one then still rising to completion on the height of Siena.


Florence at that time extended no further than the area known as Old Florence, extending from the Ponte Vecchio to the Cathedral in one direction, and from the Ponte alla Carraja to the Grazie in the other. Outside the wall lay a belt of fields and gardens, in which one or two monasteries had already sprung up. But Italy at that moment was filled with religious enthusiasm by the advent of the Friars, both great orders of whom, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, had already established[7] themselves in the rising commercial city of Florence. Both orders had acquired sites for monastic buildings in the space outside the walls, and soon began to erect enormous churches. The Dominicans came first, with Santa Maria Novella, the commencement of which dates from 1278; the Franciscans were a little later in the field, with Santa Croce, the first stone not being placed till 1294. Nevertheless, though the Dominican church is thus a few years the earlier of the two, I propose to begin my survey of the town with its Franciscan rival, because the paintings and works of art of Santa Croce are older on the whole than those of Santa Maria, and because the tourist is thus better introduced to the origins and evolution of Florentine art.

Remember, in conclusion, that Florence in Dante’s day was a small town, with little beauty, and no good building save the (since much embellished) Baptistery; but that during Dante’s lifetime the foundations were laid of Santa Maria, Santa Croce, and the great Cathedral. We shall have to trace the subsequent development of the town from these small beginnings.


The Roman name Florentia passed into Fiorenza in mediæval times, and is now Firenze.

From a very early date, St. John the Baptist (to whom the original Cathedral was dedicated) has been the patron saint of Florence. Whenever you meet him in Florentine art, he stands for the city, as St. Mark does for Venice, or the figure of Britannia for our own island.

St. Cosimo and St. Damian, the holy doctors, and therefore patron saints of the Medici family, and especially of Cosimo de’ Medici, also meet us at every turn. They represent the ruling family, and may be recognised by their red robes and caps, and their surgical instruments. Saint Lawrence is also a great Medici saint: in early works, he represents Lorenzo de’ Medici the elder, the brother of Cosimo (1395-1440); in later ones, he stands for Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492). Observe for yourself which of the two the dates in each case show to be intended.

Santa Reparata, the old patroness of the city, and San Zanobi, its sainted bishop, are also frequent objects in early painting and sculpture in Florence.

If you visit the various objects in the order[9] here enumerated, you will get a better idea of the development of Florence and of Florentine art than you could possibly do by haphazard sightseeing. Also, you will find the earlier steps explain the later. But there can be no harm in examining the picture-galleries side by side with the churches, especially if dark or wet days confine you; provided always you begin with the Belle Arti, which contains the A B C of Tuscan and Umbrian panel-painting. From it you can go on to the Uffizi and the Pitti.




St. Francis of Assisi, the Apostle of the Poor, died in 1226, and was promptly canonised in 1228. His followers spread at once over every part of Italy, choosing in each town the poorest quarters, and ministering to the spiritual and temporal needs of the lowest classes. They were representatives of Works, as the Dominicans of Faith. In 1294,—some sixteen years later than the Dominicans at Santa Maria Novella,—they began to erect a church at Florence, outside the walls, on the poorer side of the city, close by their monastery. It was dedicated under the name of Santa Croce, and shortly adorned by Giotto and his pupils with beautiful frescoes, the finest works of art yet seen in Italy. Two things must thus be specially borne in mind about this church: it is a church of the Holy Cross, whose image and[11] history meet one in it at every turn; and it is a Franciscan church, and therefore it is largely occupied with the glorification of St. Francis and of the order he founded. Their coarse brown robes appear in many of the pictures. Look out for their great saints, Bernardino of Siena, Louis of Toulouse, Antony of Padua, etc.

The Franciscans were a body of popular preachers. Hence, in their church, the immense nave, which includes the pulpit, was especially important. It was designed to accommodate large numbers of hearers. But its width and empty spaces also gave free room for many burials; whence Santa Croce became one of the principal churches in Florence for interments. In time, it grew to be the recognised Pantheon or “Westminster Abbey” of the town, where men of literary, scientific, or political importance were laid to rest: and its numerous monuments have thus a sentimental interest for those who care for such memorials. But it would be a great mistake to regard Santa Croce entirely or even mainly from the point of view of a national Walhalla, as is too often done by tourists. Its real interest lies rather in the two points noted above, and in the admi[12]rable works of art with which it is so abundantly supplied, especially in the chapels of the various great families who favoured the order.

The general design is by Arnolfo di Cambio, who at the same time was employed in designing the Cathedral. Begun, 1294; finished, 1442. It is the best museum for the Florentine art of the fourteenth century.

See it by morning light. Choose a bright morning; go past the Cathedral and the Signoria, and then dive down the narrow Borgo de’ Greci, through the tangled streets of the Old Town,—which note as characteristic,—till you arrive at the Piazza Santa Croce. In the centre of the square stands a modern statue of Dante, turning his back on the church which he never really saw. Its walls were only rising a few feet high when the poet was banished from Florence.


Proceed first to the north side of the church, to view the exterior of the mediæval building, now much obscured by the later Renaissance loggia. Little of the primitive design is at present visible. Notice the bare brick architecture, intended to be later incased in marble. Observe also the smallness, infrequency, and[13] height from the ground of the windows, and the extreme difference in this respect from the vast stained-glass-containing arches of northern Gothic. Here, the walls themselves support most of the weight, instead of leaving it to buttresses as in France and England. This wealth of wall, however, with the smallness of the windows, permits of the large development of fresco-painting within, which is characteristic of Italian buildings: it also allows room for the numerous monuments. Note at the same time the short transept and small rose window.

Now, go around again to the front. The façade, long left unfinished, was encrusted with marble in 1857, by the munificence of Mr. Sloane, an Englishman, after a Renaissance design, said to be by Cronaca, modified by the modern architect, N. Matas. The nave and aisles have separate gables. Notice, throughout, the frequent occurrence of the Holy Cross, sustained over the main gable by two angels; flanked, on the two lesser gables, by the Alpha and Omega; and reappearing many times elsewhere in the general decoration. The modern reliefs over the doors represent, on the left, the Discovery of the True Cross (Sarrocchi); in[14] the centre, the Adoration of the Cross (Dupré); on the right, the Cross appearing in Heaven to Constantine, and so imposing itself as the symbol of the official religion of the Roman Empire, (Zucchi). Observe the fine Renaissance work of the doorways, with the Alpha and Omega again displayed. High up on the front, over the rose window, is the monogram IHS, introduced by the great Franciscan saint, San Bernardino di Siena. His original example is preserved within. The right side of the church is enclosed by the former buildings of the monastery.

Now, enter the church. The interior is at first sight bare and simple to the degree of positive disappointment. The Franciscans, vowed to poverty, were not a wealthy body. Begin by walking up the centre of the nave, to observe the simple aisles (with no side chapels), the short transepts, the impressive but by no means large Gothic choir (of Arnolfo’s period), and the ten chapels, built out from the transept, as in continuation or doubling of the choir, all of which are characteristic features of this age of Italian Gothic. Each of these chapels was the property of some great mediæval family,[15] such as the Bardi or the Peruzzi. Observe also the plain barn-like wooden roof, so different from the beautiful stone vaulting of northern cathedrals. Architecturally, this very simple interior is severe but interesting.

Now, go down again to the door by which you entered, and proceed along the right aisle, to observe the various objects it contains in detail.

I will dwell upon the monuments very briefly, as mere excrescences upon the original building.

Michael Angelo Buonarotti is buried below on the right; died at Rome, 1564. The general design of the monument is by Vasari; bust by Battista Lorenzi; figure of Architecture by Giovanni dell’Opera; Painting by Lorenzi; Sculpture by Cioli. Pretentious and feeble.

By the pillar on the left, a *Madonna and Child (Madonna del Latte), part of the monument of Francesco Nori, by Antonio Rossellino, fifteenth century, is extremely beautiful.

On the right is Dante’s cenotaph. The poet is buried at Ravenna.

To the left, on a column, stands the famous *pulpit, by Benedetto da Majano, said to be the[16] most beautiful in Italy, though far inferior in effect to that of Niccolò Pisano at Pisa. Its supports are of delicate Renaissance work. The subjects of the reliefs (Franciscan, of course) are, the Confirmation of the Franciscan order, the burning of immoral books, St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, Death of St. Francis, and Martyrdom of Franciscan Saints. Notice the hand holding out the Holy Cross from the pulpit, here more appropriate than elsewhere. The statuettes beneath represent Faith, Hope, Charity, Courage, and Justice.

On the right, opposite it, is the monument of Alfieri, erected for his mistress, the Countess of Albany, by Canova.

Here also are memorials of Macchiavelli, died 1527: monument erected in 1787; and Lanzi, the historian of art.

A fresco, by Andrea del Castagno, with St. John the Baptist, as patron saint of Florence, and St. Francis, as representing the present church and order, alone now remains of all the frescoes of the nave, cleared away by the Goths of the seventeenth century.


Near it is an exquisite **Annunciation by Donatello, of pietra serena, gilt, in a charming[17] Renaissance frame; perhaps the most beautiful object in the whole church. Notice the speaking positions of the angel and Our Lady, the usual book and prie-dieu, and the exquisite shrinking timidity of the Madonna’s attitude. This is worth all the tombs put together.

Over the door is the Meeting of St. Francis and St. Dominic. Compare with the Della Robbia at the Hospital of San Paolo, near Santa Maria Novella.

A beautiful Renaissance tomb of Leonardo Bruni, by Bernardo Rossellino, presents a model afterward much imitated, especially at Venice.

Turn the corner into the right transept. The first chapel on your right, that of the Holy Sacrament, is covered with much-defaced frescoes by Agnolo Gaddi. Recollect that this church is the great place for studying the early Giottesque fresco-painters: first, Giotto; then his pupil, Taddeo Gaddi; next, Taddeo’s pupils, Agnolo Gaddi and Giovanni da Milano. (See Kugler.) On the right wall are represented the lives of St. Nicholas (first bay) and St. John the Baptist (second bay). The most distinct of these frescoes are, first, St. Nicholas appearing in a storm at sea (or, restoring the nobleman[18] his drowned son); and, second, the Baptism of Christ; but some of the others can be faintly recognised, as at the top, the figure of St. Nicholas throwing the three purses of gold as dowries into the window of the poor nobleman with three starving daughters. (See Mrs. Jameson.) The walls here show well the way in which these frescoes were defaced by later additions. On the left wall are frescoed the lives of St. John the Evangelist and St. Anthony, also by Agnolo Gaddi. The scene of the Temptation of St. Anthony is the best preserved of these. Against the pilasters stand life-sized terra-cotta statues of our Franciscan lights, St. Francis and St. Bernardino, by the Della Robbia. On the left wall is the monument of the Countess of Albany.


At the end wall of the right transept is a good Gothic monument of the fourteenth century with reliefs of Christ, the Madonna and St. John, and a Madonna and Child in fresco above, and exquisite little *sculptured angels of the school of Pisa. The chapel of the right transept, known as the Cappella Baroncelli, contains admirable **frescoes from the life of the Virgin, by Taddeo Gaddi. These should[19] all be carefully studied. On the left wall, beginning from above (as always here), in the first tier, Joachim is expelled by the High Priest from the temple, his offering being rejected because he is childless; watching his flocks, he perceives the angel who foretells the birth of the Virgin. Notice the conventional symbolical open temple. (Read the legend later in Mrs. Jameson.) In the second tier, on the left, is the meeting of Joachim and Anna at the Golden Gate; the servant behind carries, as usual, the rejected offering. On the right is the Birth of the Virgin, the child, as always, being washed in the foreground. Observe closely the conventional arrangement, which will reappear in later pictures. In the third tier, on the left, is the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple by St. Joachim and St. Anna; the young Madonna stands on a single flight of steps (wrongly restored above). Carefully study all the details of this fresco, with its Romanesque or early Gothic architecture and round arches, for comparison with the Giovanni da Milano of the same subject, which we will see later. (At three years old, the Virgin was consecrated to the service of God by Joachim and Anna.) On[20] the right is the Marriage of the Virgin; the High Priest joining her hand to Joseph’s, whose staff has budded, in accordance with the legend. (All were placed in the Holy of Holies, as in the case of Aaron; and he whose staff budded was to wed the Virgin.) Observe the disappointed suitors breaking their staffs, etc. All the incidents are stereotyped. This picture should be carefully noted for comparison both with the Giovanni da Milano here, and with other representations of the Sposalizio elsewhere (e. g. the Raphael at Milan). I strongly advise very long and close study of these frescoes (some of which are imitated directly from Giotto’s in the Madonna dell’Arena at Padua), for comparison both with those originals and with the later imitations by Giovanni da Milano. They cast a flood of light upon the history and evolution of art. Each figure and detail will help you to understand other pictures you will see hereafter. It is a good plan to get photographs of the series, published by Alinari in the Via Tornabuoni, and look at the one series (Gaddi’s), with the photographs of the other (Giovanni’s) in your hands. You cannot over-estimate the importance of such comparison.[21] In the two Presentations, for example, almost every group is reproduced exactly.

On the window wall, above, is an Annunciation on the left; on the right is a Visitation; notice the loggia in the background. These are also most illustrative compositions. In the second tier, on the left, the angel appears to the shepherds; on the right is the Nativity. In the third tier, on the left, the Star appears to the Wise Men; on the right is the Adoration of the Magi. Notice the ages of the Three Kings, representing, as always, the three ages of man, and also the three old continents—Europe, Asia, Africa. Observe the very Giottesque Madonna and Child. This fresco should be compared with the Giotto at Padua.

On the right wall is a fresco by Mainardi: the Madonna ascending in a mandorla, escorted by angels from her tomb, which is filled with roses, drops the Sacred Girdle (Sacra Cintola), now preserved at Prato, to St. Thomas below. (Go to Prato to see it, in order to understand the numerous Sacra Cintola pictures in Florence; and read in Mrs. Jameson, under head, St. Thomas.)

To the left of this chapel is the door leading[22] to the Sacristy. At the end of the corridor is the Cappella Medici, erected by Michelozzo for Cosimo de’ Medici. It contains many beautiful objects. On the right wall is a *marble ciborium, by Mino da Fiesole, with charming angels and an inscription: “This is the living bread which came down from heaven;” also a Giottesque Coronation of the Virgin with four saints—conspicuous among them, Peter and Lawrence. Over the tomb of Lombardi are a beautiful *Madonna and angels of the school of Donatello. On the end wall is our patron, St. Francis with the Stigmata. Over the altar is an exquisite **terra-cotta of the school of Della Robbia, attributed to Luca, a Madonna being crowned by angels, and attended on the left by St. John the Baptist as representing Florence, and on the right by St. Lawrence (for Lorenzo de’ Medici), St. Francis (for this Franciscan church), and St. Louis of Toulouse, the great Franciscan bishop. On the left wall is a famous Coronation of the Virgin, by Giotto, tender in execution, but in his stiffest panel style. It is regarded as a touchstone for his critics. Very graceful faces; crowded composition. Beyond it, notice the Madonna and Child by the Della[23] Robbia, and, over the doorway, a Pietà, by the same, in a frame of fruit. Notice these lovely late fifteenth century majolica objects, frequent in Florence. All the works in this very Franciscan chapel of the Medici, indeed, deserve close inspection. Notice their coat of arms (the pills) over the arch of the altar and elsewhere. It will meet you often in Florence.




Returning along the corridor, to the right, you come to the Sacristy, containing many curious early works, all of which should be noted, such as the Crucifix bowing to San Giovanni Gualberto as he pardons the murderer of his brother, in the predella of an altar-piece by Orcagna, to the left as you enter. The right wall has frescoes of the Passion, by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, of which the Resurrection, with its sleeping soldiers, mandorla (or almond-shaped glory), and red cross on white banner, is highly typical. Study all these for their conventional features. Notice also the fine roof, and the intarsia-work of the seats and boxes.

A beautiful iron railing of 1371 separates the Sacristy from the Cappella Rinuccini, containing on the left wall, *frescoes of the life of the Madonna by Giovanni da Milano, the close[25] similarity of which to those by his master, Taddeo Gaddi, already observed, should be carefully noticed. The subjects are the same; the treatment is very slightly varied, but pointed arches replace the round ones. At the summit is Joachim expelled from the Temple. In the second tier, on the left, the angel appears to Joachim, and Joachim and Anna meet at the Golden Gate; on the right is the Birth of the Virgin; study the attitudes and note the servant bringing in the roast chicken, St. Anne washing her hands, etc., of all which motives (older by centuries) imitations occur in such later representations of the same scene as Ghirlandajo’s at Santa Maria Novella. In the third tier on the left, is the Presentation in the Temple, with Gothic instead of Romanesque arcade and the steps indicating how those in the Taddeo Gaddi originally ran. (Do not omit to compare these two by means of photographs.) On the right is the Marriage of the Virgin. These two last are specially favourable examples for observing the close way in which Giottesque painters reproduced one another’s motives. I advise you to spend some hours at least in studying and comparing the frescoes of this chapel and the Baroncelli.


On the right wall are scenes from the life of Mary Magdalen, to whom this chapel is dedicated. At the summit she washes the feet of Christ; notice the seven devils escaping from the roof. In the second tier, on the left, is Christ in the house of Mary and Martha; observe Martha’s quaintly speaking attitude; on the right is the Resurrection of Lazarus. In the third tier, on the left, are Christ and the Magdalen in the garden, with the women and angels at the tomb; on the right is a miracle of the Magdalen in Provence (see Mrs. Jameson): she restores to life the wife of a nobleman of Marseilles—a very long story. This fresco is to my mind obviously by another hand: it lacks the simplicity and force of Giovanni. Observe also the fine altar-piece, with the Madonna and Child, flanked by St. John the Baptist and St. Francis, as representing Florence and the Franciscan order; then, St. John the Evangelist, and Mary Magdalen, patroness of the chapel; and, in the predella, scenes from their lives.

Emerge from the Sacristy. Now take the chapels in line with the choir. The first chapel contains faded frescoes, said to be of the age[27] of Cimabue (more likely by a pupil of Giotto), representing the combat of St. Michael and the Devils, which seem to have suggested the admirable Spinello Aretino of the same subject in the National Gallery in London.

The second chapel is uninteresting; the third chapel, of the Bonaparte family, tawdry.

The fourth chapel, the Cappella Peruzzi (called, like the others, after the family of the owners), contains the famous frescoes by Giotto, from the lives of the two St. Johns. On the left wall is the life of St. John the Baptist, the patron of Florence. In the upper tier, the angel appears to Zacharias. In the second tier, on the right, is the Birth of the Baptist; on the left he is presented to Zacharias, who writes down “His name is John.” In the third tier, Herodias’s daughter receives his head, and presents it to her mother. The attitude of the player, and the arrangement of the king’s table reappear in many later compositions. Look out for them hereafter. On the right wall is the life of St. John the Evangelist. At the summit he has the vision of the Apocalypse in a quaintly symbolical isle of Patmos. In the second tier he raises Drusiana, an admirable[28] opportunity for the study of Giotto’s style of drapery. The St. John in this fresco already contains premonitions of Masaccio and even of Raphael. In the third tier, he is taken up into heaven by Christ in clouds, accompanied by the Patriarchs: a magnificent dramatic composition. These frescoes, which represent the maturest work of Giotto’s manhood, should be closely studied in every detail. Spend many hours over them. Though far less attractive than his naïve earlier work in the Madonna dell’Arena at Padua, they yet display greater mastery of drawing and freedom of movement. Do not let one visit suffice for them. Compare them again and again with photographs from the Arena, and look out for imitations by later painters. Do not overlook the altar-piece, by Andrea del Sarto. It represents the two great plague-saints—San Rocco and St. Sebastian. The Franciscans were great nursers of the plague-stricken, and this altar was one where vows were offered for recovery.


The fifth chapel, the Cappella Bardi, contains other frescoes, also by Giotto (unfortunately over-restored), of the life of St. Francis. These were once the chief ornament of this[29] Franciscan church. On the left wall, at the summit, he divests himself of his clothing and worldly goods, and leaves his father’s house, to be the spouse of Poverty. In the second tier he appears suddenly at Arles, to Sant’Antonio of Padua, while preaching. (Read up all these subjects in Mrs. Jameson’s Monastic Orders.) In the third is the Death of St. Francis; his soul is seen conveyed by angels to heaven. This picture, which formed the model for many subsequently saintly obsequies, should be compared at once with the Ghirlandajo of the same theme in the Santa Trinità in Florence. On the right, at the summit, St. Francis receives the confirmation of the rules of his order from Pope Innocent III. In the second tier is his trial of faith before the Sultan. In the third tier are his miracles (appearance to Guido d’Assisi: a dying brother sees his soul leaping toward heaven). Consult parts I. and III. of Ruskin’s “Mornings in Florence,” on the subject of these frescoes, but do not be led away by his too positive manner. On the ceiling are St. Francis in Glory, and his three great virtues, Poverty, Chastity, Obedience. Note also the figures of the chief Franciscan luminaries, St.[30] Louis of Toulouse, St. Louis of France, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and St. Clara (foundress of the Franciscan female order of Poor Clares), round the windows. The whole is thus an epic of Franciscanism. Study it fully. The curious ancient altar-piece of this chapel deserves attention.

On the archway, above this chapel, outside, is St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, by Giotto—resembling the altar-piece of the same subject in the Louvre, painted by Giotto for San Francesco at Pisa. I recommend long observation of all these Giottos. Go later to Assisi, the town of St. Francis, and compare them with the Giottos in the parent monastery. The choir, which is, of course, the central point of the whole church, usually bears reference to the name and dedication: here, it is naturally adorned by the History of the Holy Cross, depicted in fresco on its walls by Agnolo Gaddi. These frescoes, however, are so ill seen, owing to the railing, and the obstacles placed in the way of entering, that I will merely give a brief outline of their wild legend as here represented.

On the right wall, in the first fresco, Seth[31] receives from an angel a branch from the Tree of Knowledge. He is told to plant it in Adam’s heart, with an admonition that when it bears fruit, Adam will be restored to life again.

In the second fresco, the Tree, cut down by Solomon for use in the Temple, and found unsuitable, is seen in passing by the Queen of Sheba, who beholds a vision of the crucified Saviour, and falls down to worship it.

In the third, the Tree is found floating in the Pool of Bethesda, and is taken out to be used as the Cross of the Saviour.

In the fourth, the Holy Cross, buried for three hundred years, is discovered by the Empress Helena, who distinguishes it by its powers in healing sickness.

On the left wall, in the fifth fresco, Helena carries the Holy Cross in procession amid public rejoicing.

In the sixth, Chosroes, King of Persia, takes Jerusalem, and carries off a part of the Holy Cross which was still preserved there.

In the seventh, Heraclius, Emperor of the East, conquers and beheads Chosroes, and rescues the Holy Cross from the heathen.

In the eighth, Heraclius brings the Holy[32] Cross in triumph to Jerusalem, and carries it barefoot on his shoulders into the city.

In the first chapel, beyond the choir, is an interesting altar-piece.

The second and third chapels contain nothing noteworthy.

The fourth chapel, of St. Stephen and St. Lawrence, contains frescoes by Bernardo Daddi, an early Giottesque. On the left are the Trial and Martyrdom of St. Stephen, on the right the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, with the usual boy blowing the bellows. The scene is caught at the famous moment when the Saint is saying, “Turn me over; this side is done.” (Jam versa: assatus est.) To the left and right of the windows are St. Stephen and St. Lawrence, with their palms of martyrdom. (These two deacon saints are usually painted in couples. They similarly share Fra Angelico’s chapel in the Vatican.) Over the altar is a somewhat vulgarly coloured relief of the Madonna and Child, with angels; St. John the Evangelist, holding his symbol, the cup and serpent, and St. Mary Magdalen, with the alabaster box of ointment. Notice the Annunciation and the little saints in the predella of this work. Their order from[33] left to right is: St. Dominic with his star; St. Lucy with her eyes in a dish; St. Catherine of Alexandria with her wheel; and St. Thomas Aquinas with his open book. A Dominican work in this Franciscan church, placed here, no doubt, by some Dominican-minded donor.

The fifth chapel, of St. Sylvester, contains frescoes by Giottino or Maso di Banco. On the left, over the tomb of Uberto de’ Bardi, is the Last Judgment, with the dead man rising solitary. Over the next tomb,—this is more probably by Taddeo Gaddi,—the Entombment, all the attitudes in which are characteristically Giottesque, and should be carefully noted. On the right wall is the Conversion of Constantine, and the miracles of St. Sylvester, greatly faded (exorcism of a dragon, etc.). Notice, in the lower tier, two dead men restored to life, naïvely represented in the usual fashion, the dead bodies below, the living rising out of them. Similar scenes will meet you elsewhere.

The end chapel of the left transept contains no work of importance. Observe from its steps the general view of the building.

In the chapel beyond transept are modern monuments and paintings.


Return by the left aisle, passing a monument of Raphael Morghen, and a **monument of Carlo Marsuppini, by Desiderio da Settignano, an exquisite specimen of Renaissance work, with lovely decorative framework, and charming boy-angels holding the coat of arms of the deceased. Every portion of the decoration of this exquisite tomb should be examined in detail. Observe in particular the robe and tassels. It is a masterpiece of its period.

Many of the late altar-pieces in this aisle are worth passing attention as specimens of the later baroque painting.

Notice also the tomb of Galileo Galilei, died 1642, and, over the holy water stoup, St. Francis with the Stigmata.


On the entrance wall of the nave, in the rose window, is a Descent from the Cross, thus completing the series of the Holy Cross, from a design by Ghiberti; beneath it, the original IHS, from the design of St. Bernardino of Siena, the holy Franciscan, who placed it with his own hands on the old façade. Over the central door stands a statue of St. Louis of Toulouse, the other great Franciscan saint, by Donatello; beneath his feet, the crown which he[35] refused in order to accept the monastic profession. Study well all these Franciscan memorials, and observe their frequent allusiveness to the Holy Cross.

The reader must not suppose that in this brief enumeration I have done anything more than hastily touch upon a point of view for the chief objects of interest in this most important church. He must come here over and over again, and study the various chapels and their frescoes in order. I have passed over endless minor works whose meaning and interest will become more and more apparent on further examination. Regard Santa Croce as a museum of the early Giottesque fresco-painters, and recollect that only in Florence, with Assisi and Padua, can you adequately study these great artists. If the study attracts you, read up in Layard’s Kugler the portion relating to Giotto, Taddeo Gaddi, and Giovanni da Milano; and also in Mrs. Jameson the legends of the chief saints here commemorated. Then return to correct and enlarge your first impressions. Afterward go on to Assisi and Padua. It is impossible to estimate the Giottesques outside Italy.


Through the cloisters of the Franciscan monastery, to the right, outside the church (designed by Arnolfo), you gain access to the Cappella de’ Pazzi, founded by the great family whose name it bears, the chief rivals of the Medici. It is a splendid work by Brunelleschi, the architect of the dome of the Cathedral. The beautiful frieze of angels’ heads without is by Donatello and Desiderio de Settignano. You can thus study here these two early Renaissance sculptors. Within are terra-cotta decorations by Luca della Robbia: the twelve Apostles and the four Evangelists. The shape of the roof is characteristic.

To the right of the cloisters on entering is the old refectory of the convent, on the end wall of which, as on most refectories, is painted in fresco the Last Supper, attributed to Giotto, more probably by Taddeo Gaddi. This Cenacolo should be carefully studied as the one from which most later representations are gradually derived. Notice the position of Judas in the foreground, long maintained in subsequent paintings. I advise you to get photographs of this work for comparison with the Ghirlandajo at San Marco, the Cenacolo di Fuligno, etc. The[37] Crucifixion, above, has near it a Genealogical Tree of the Franciscan order; close by, St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, History of St. Louis of Toulouse, and the Magdalen at the feet of Christ in the house of the Pharisee. All these, again, should be noted for comparison; they are probably the work of a pupil of Taddeo’s. Do not omit to observe the Franciscan character here, too, nor the frequency of the outcast figure of the Magdalen. The Franciscans—the Salvation Army of their day—ministered especially to the poor and sinful.




St. Dominic of Castile, the great contemporary and friendly rival of St. Francis, died in 1221. The order which he founded (distinguishable in art as in life by its black and white robes) soon spread over Italy. The Dominicans constituted themselves the guardians of Faith, as the Franciscans were the apostles of Works; they protected the faithful against heresy, and extirpated heretics. The Holy Inquisition grew out of their body. They were also, incidentally, the leading teachers of scholastic philosophy; they posed as the learned order. As preachers, they chiefly expounded the doctrines of the Church, and preserved its purity.


The Dominicans were the earliest builders of any important monumental church at Florence.[39] In 1278 (some sixteen years before the Franciscans at Santa Croce), they began to erect a splendid edifice on the west side of the town, in the garden belt outside the narrow walls of the earliest precinct. It served as chapel to their monastery. The design for this church, in pure Tuscan Gothic, was prepared by two Dominican monks, Fra Sisto and Fra Ristoro; and the building was finished (except the façade) about 1355. The façade itself is a later Renaissance addition to the original building.

Before examining Santa Maria Novella, however, I strongly advise the visitor to begin by inspecting the Strozzi Palace, in the Via Tornabuoni. This massive Tuscan residence forms a typical example of the solid and gloomy Florentine palaces—half fortress, half mansion. It was built, as a whole, in 1489 (long after Santa Maria), by Benedetto da Majano, for his patron, Filippo Strozzi, the chief rival of the Medici in the later fifteenth century. The beautiful cornice which tops its exterior on the side next the Via Strozzi was added later by Cronaca. But it is well to inspect (from without) this magnificent house before visiting Santa Maria, because both Filippo Strozzi and Benedetto da[40] Majano will meet us again more than once in the church we are about to consider. Observe that the solid Tuscan palaces of which this is the type are designed like fortresses, for defence against civic foes, with barricaded windows high up on the ground floor, and a castle-like front; while they are only accessible by a huge gate (readily closed) into a central courtyard, lighter and airier, on which the principal living-apartments open. (These palaces incidentally give you the clue to the Cour du Louvre.) Note the immense blocks of stone of which the wall is composed, and the way they are worked; observe also the windows, doorways, corner-lanterns, and rings or link-holders of the exterior; then walk into the court, whose front was added somewhat later by Cronaca. Contrast these fortress town-houses of the turbulent Florentine nobles with the relatively free and open mansions of the mercantile Venetians, among whom (under the strong rule of the Doges and the oligarchy) internal peace was so much earlier secured. Remember finally that the Strozzi were among the chief patrons of Santa Maria Novella.

From the Strozzi Palace, again, walk just[41] around the corner into the Via della Vigna Nuova, and inspect the exterior of the slightly earlier Rucellai Palace. The family who built it were the pillars of Santa Maria and of the Dominican order. It was designed by Leon Battista Alberti, the first of the famous Renaissance architects; it is remarkable for the pilasters which here first intervene between the so-called rustica work of the masonry. These two palaces give you a good idea of the Tuscan houses. If you wish to learn more of Alberti’s style inspect also the dainty little (blocked-up) arcade or loggia opposite; as also the Rucellai Chapel in the Via della Spada, which encloses an imitation by Alberti of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. And now you are in a position to understand Santa Maria, the façade of which this same Alberti designed.

Recollect then, in the first place, that it is a Dominican church, full of the glory of the Dominicans, and of their teaching function, as well as of their great philosophic saints, in particular, St. Thomas Aquinas—look out for their black-and-white robes; and, in the second place, that it is the church of the Rucellai, the Strozzi, the Tornabuoni, and other wealthy and noble[42] Florentine families. Earlier in date than Santa Croce as to its fabric, I place it later in the order of our tour, because its contained works of art are of later date, and its style less uniform.

Choose a very sunny day; go into the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Observe the church, and the opposite hospital of San Paolo; there is a good relief of the Meeting of St. Dominic and St. Francis, by the Della Robbia, in the right corner of the latter, under the loggia. Then, walk around the right corner of the church into the Piazza dell’Unità Italiana, where stand by the obelisk to examine the exterior of the mediæval portion of the building, with its almost windowless nave and aisles, and its transept with small rose window. This part was designed for the Rucellai by two Dominican monks about 1278. Afterward, proceed toward the railway station, so as to observe the architecture of the end of the church, and the interesting campanile. This is all part of the primitive building.

Now, return to the much later Renaissance façade, erected by Leon Battista Alberti in 1456 for Giovanni Rucellai. This façade is well worth[43] close notice, as a specimen of early Renaissance architecture. Observe first the earlier Gothic arcades (avelli), in black and white marble, which surround the corner. These were used as burial vaults, and contain, below, the coats-of-arms of the various noble families interred there. Those to the right have been over-restored; but on the lower tier of the façade itself, and to the left by the monastery buildings, they still remain in their original condition. The two lateral doorways are also early and Gothic. The central doorway, however, and the rest of the façade, in black and white marble, and serpentine,—at least, the part above the first cornice,—belongs to the later Renaissance design added by Alberti. If you go around to the front of the neighbouring church of San Lorenzo, you will see the way in which such façades were often left incomplete for ages in Italy. Notice the contrast between the later and earlier portions; also the handsome green pilasters. At Santa Croce, the nave and aisles have separate gables; here, only the nave has a visible gable-end, while the apparently flat top of the aisles is connected with it by a curl or volute, which does not answer to the interior[44] architecture. Beneath the pediment runs the inscription: “Iohannes Oricellarivs, Pav[li] Fil[ivs] An[no] Sal[vationis] Mcccclxx”; that is to say, “Giovanni Rucellai, son of Paolo, in the Year of Salvation, 1470.” Look out within for more than one memorial of these same Rucellai, the great joint patrons of Santa Maria Novella.

Enter the church. The interior, a fine specimen of Tuscan Gothic, consists of a nave and aisles, with vaulted roof (about 1350), and a transept somewhat longer than is usual in Italian churches.

Walk up the centre of the nave to the junction of the transepts (mind the two steps half way) in order to observe the internal architecture in general, and the position of the choir and chapels, much resembling that of Santa Croce: only, the transepts end here in raised chapels.


Then, return to the right aisle, noticing, on the entrance wall, to the right of the main door, a beautiful little Annunciation of the fifteenth century, where the position of the Madonna and angel, the dividing wall, prie-dieu, bed in the background, etc., are all highly character[45]istic of this interesting subject. Beneath it, three little episodes, a Baptism, an Adoration of the Magi, and a Nativity, closely imitated after Giotto. To the left of the doorway is a Holy Trinity, with saints and donors, much injured, but still a fine work by Masaccio. The altar-pieces in the right aisle are of the seventeenth century, and mostly uninteresting. One is dedicated to St. Thomas à Becket.

In the right transept is a bust of St. Antoninus, the Dominican Bishop of Florence. (The Dominicans make the most of their saints here, as the Franciscans did at Santa Croce.)

Beyond the doorway is the Tomb of Joseph, Patriarch of Constantinople, who came to the Council of Ferrara (afterward at Florence) in order to arrange a basis of reunion for the Eastern and Western Churches, and then died here, 1440. (The beautiful fresco of the Journey of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli at the Riccardi Palace, which you will visit later, contains his portrait as the Eldest King.)

Above this is the early Gothic Tomb of Aldobrandino (1279), with Madonna and Child, added, by Nino Pisano. To the right is another tomb (Bishop Aliotti of Fiesole, died 1336)[46] with recumbent figure, Ecce Homo, etc., best viewed from the steps to the end chapel: this is probably by Tino da Camaino. Note these as specimens of early Tuscan sculpture.

Ascend the steps to the Rucellai Chapel. (Remember the family.) Over the altar is Cimabue’s famous Madonna, with attendant angels superimposed on one another. This celebrated picture, the first which diverged from the Byzantine (or rather barbaric Italian) style, is best seen in a very bright light. It forms the starting-point for the art of Tuscany. A replica, with slight variations, can be studied with greater ease in the Belle Arti. This famous work is the one which is said to have been borne in triumph from the painters studio to the church by the whole population. Note the greater freedom in the treatment of the angels, where Cimabue was less bound by rigid custom than in Our Lady and the Divine Child. On the right wall is a characteristic Giottesque Annunciation, where the loggia and the position of the angel should be noted; on the left wall is St. Lucy, with her eyes in a dish, by Ridolfo Ghirlandajo. The tomb of the Beata Villana (with angels, as often, drawing the cur[47]tains) is by Bernardo Rossellino. The Martyrdom of St. Catherine is by Bugiardini. Come again to this chapel to study the Cimabue after you have seen the copy in the Belle Arti.

Notice outside the chapel, as you descend the stairs, the Rucellai inscriptions, including the Tomb of Paolo, father of Giovanni, who erected the façade.

Now, turn to the Choir Chapels, extending in a line to the left as you descend. And observe here that, just as the exterior belongs to two distinct ages, Mediæval and Renaissance, so also do the frescoes. The Orcagnas and the paintings of the Spanish Chapel are Giottesque and Mediæval; the Filippino Lippis and the Ghirlandajos are Renaissance. We come first upon the later series.


The first chapel is uninteresting.

The second chapel, of the Strozzi family, the other great patrons of Santa Maria Novella, was formerly, as the Latin inscriptions relate, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, but was afterward made over by Filippo Strozzi (builder of the Strozzi Palace) to his family patrons, St. Philip and St. James. The same powerful nobleman employed Filippino Lippi to deco[48]rate it with **frescoes, which rank among the finest work of that great Renaissance master. Here you come for the first time upon a famous Florentine painter of the fifteenth century. Contrast his frescoes with the Giottesque types at Santa Croce, and observe the advance they mark in skill and knowledge. The left wall contains scenes from the life of the (dispossessed) St. John the Evangelist, as compensation for disturbance. Below, St. John raises Drusiana, a legendary subject which we saw at Santa Croce. Observe here, however, the Roman architecture, the attempts at classical restoration, and the admirable dramatic character of the scene, especially visible in the strange look of wonder on the face of the resuscitated woman herself, and the action of the two bier-bearers. The group of women, mourners, and children to the right should be carefully studied as typical of Filippino Lippi’s handiwork (about 1502). Above is St. John in the caldron of boiling oil. Observe again the classical tone in the lictors with fasces and other Roman insignia. The right wall is devoted to the legendary history of St. Philip, the namesake of both patron and[49] painter. Below, St. Philip exorcises a dragon which haunted a temple at Hierapolis in Phrygia, and killed by its breath the king’s son. Here again the dramatic action is very marked, both in the statue of Mars, the priest, the mourning worshippers, and the dragon to the left, and the dying prince in the arms of his courtiers to the right of the picture. Above is the Martyrdom of St. Philip, who is crucified by the outraged priests of the dragon. These frescoes, though marred by restoration, deserve attentive study. Their exaggerated decorative work is full of feeling for the antique. They are characteristic but florid examples of the Renaissance spirit before the age of Raphael. (Good accounts in Layard’s Kugler, and Mrs. Jameson.) Note, however, that while excellent as art they are wholly devoid of spiritual meaning—mere pleasant stories. On the window wall is the tomb of Filippo Strozzi by Benedetto da Majano, the architect of the Strozzi palace. (Notice throughout this constant connection of certain painters and sculptors with families of particular patrons, and also with churches of special orders.) The Madonna and Child, flying angels, and framework, are all exquisite[50] examples of their artist’s fine feeling. The bust of Filippo Strozzi, from this tomb, is now in the Louvre. The window above, with Our Lady, and St. Philip and St. James, is also after a design by Filippino Lippi. Observe likewise the admirable Sibyls and other allegorical figures of the window wall. Not a detail of this fine Renaissance work should be left unnoticed. Do not forget the Patriarchs on the ceiling, each named on a cartolino or little slip of paper. Return more than once to a chapel like this, reading up the subjects and painters meanwhile, till you feel you understand it.

Enter the choir, noticing, as you pass, the marble high altar, which covers the remains of the Dominican founder, the Beato Giovanni di Salerno.

The **frescoes on the walls were originally by Orcagna, but in 1490 Giovanni Tornabuoni commissioned Domenico Ghirlandajo to paint them over with the two existing series, representing, on the right wall, the life of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of the city, and, on the left wall, the history of the Virgin, the patron saint of Santa Maria Novella. (Here,[51] therefore, as usual, the Choir contains direct reference to the dedication.)

The upper scenes on either side are so much damaged as to be hardly recognisable, but the lower ones are as follows:

On the left wall, in the second tier to the left, is the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, which should be compared with similar scenes by earlier Giottesque painters, in Santa Croce; on the right, the Marriage of the Virgin; observe again the positions of Joseph, Mary, the High Priest, the attendant Virgins of the Lord, and the disappointed suitors, breaking their staffs, etc. (Recall or compare with photograph of Raphael’s Sposalizio at Milan.) In the lowest tier, on the left, is the Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple (because he is childless) where the spectators (introduced as if viewing the facts) are contemporary Florentine portraits of the painter and his brother, and the family and friends of the Tornabuoni. Contrast the details with the Giottesques at Santa Croce: noble figures of the High Priest and St. Joachim. On the right is the Birth of the Virgin, with St. Anne in bed, the washing of the infant, and a group of Florentine ladies[52] as spectators: conspicuous among them, Lodovica, daughter of Giovanni Tornabuoni; in the background, the Meeting of Joachim and Anna at the Golden Gate. In all these pictures, the survivals and modifications of traditional scenes should both be noted; also, the character of the architecture and the decorative detail in which Ghirlandajo delighted. He had been trained as a goldsmith, and retained through life his love of goldsmith-like handicraft. The introduction of portraits of contemporaries as spectators is highly characteristic both of age and artist. Ghirlandajo was in essence a portrait-painter, who used sacred scenes as an excuse for portraiture.


On the right wall, in the lower tier, to the left, is the Visitation, where the positions of the Madonna and St. Elizabeth should be noted, as those on which later pictures by Mariotto Albertinelli, Pacchiarotto, etc., are based, and also as derived from earlier examples. Here, also, notice the contemporary portraits. The lady, standing very erect, in a stiff yellow gown, is Giovanni Tornabuoni’s stepdaughter, Giovanna Albizi, the same person of whom a portrait by Ghirlandajo (a study for this picture)[53] exists in the National Gallery in London, and who is also introduced in the two frescoes by Botticelli at the head of the principal stairs in the Louvre. On the right is the Angel appearing to Zacharias, where a group of contemporary portraits of distinguished Florentines is particularly celebrated; Baedeker names them; I will not, as you will have his book with you. In the second tier, on the left, Zacharias writes “His name is John.” On the right is the birth of the Baptist. Sit on the seats a long time, and study au fond these typical and important frescoes.

On the window wall are ill seen and defaced frescoes, also by Ghirlandajo, of St. Francis before the Sultan, and St. Peter Martyr killed by assassins; the Annunciation, and St. John the Baptist in the desert; and, below all, Giovanni Tornabuoni and his wife, the donors of these frescoes. Observe here in the choir, which is, as it were, the focus of the church, that almost everything refers to the Blessed Virgin, the patroness of this building, or to St. John the Baptist, the patron of the town in which it is situated.

I cannot too strongly recommend close study[54] of these late Renaissance pictures of the age immediately preceding that of Raphael. Do not be satisfied with noting the few points I mention: look over them carefully as specimens of an epoch. Specially characteristic, for example, is the figure of the nude beggar in the scene of the Presentation of the Virgin, on the left wall, showing the growing Renaissance love for nude anatomy. On the other hand you will find in the same picture the positions of St. Jerome and St. Anna, of the two children, and of the two men in the foreground, as well as that of the Madonna pausing half-way up the steps, exactly equivalent to those in the Taddeo Gaddi and the Giovanni da Milano. Photographs of all these should be compared with one another, and also with the famous Titian at Venice. I have tried to give some hints on this subject in an article on the Presentation in the Temple contributed to the Pall Mall Magazine in 1895.

The first chapel beyond the choir is uninteresting. It contains, however, a famous crucifix by Brunelleschi, which would seem to show that a crucifix, by whomsoever designed, is still a crucifix.


The second chapel, of the Gaddi, contains good bas-reliefs by Bandini.

Under the steps which lead to the elevated Strozzi Chapel (the second belonging to the family in this church) is a tomb with Gothic figures and a Giottesque Entombment, attributed to Giottino.

Ascend the steps to the Strozzi Chapel, the altar of which covers the remains of a “Blessed” member of the family, the Beato Alessio dei Strozzi. This chapel contains some famous Giottesque frescoes by the brothers Orcagna.

On the window wall is the Last Judgment, by Andrea Orcagna, with Angels of the Last Trump, the twelve apostles, the rising dead, and other conventional elements. Conspicuous just below the figure of the Saviour are, to the left, Our Lady, patroness of this church, and to the right St. John the Baptist, patron of this city. On the right of the Saviour are the elect; to the left of him, the damned. Every one of the figures of the rising dead, saints, and apostles, with the angels bearing the instruments of the Passion, deserve close attention. Most of them will recur in many later pictures. Com[56]pare the similar scene in the Campo Santo at Pisa.

On the left wall is the Paradise, also by Andrea, a famous and most beautiful picture, with Christ and the Madonna enthroned, and an immense company of adoring saints and angels. As many as possible of these should be identified by their symbols. Return from time to time and add to your identifications. The tiers represent successively Seraphim and Cherubim, Apostles, Prophets, Patriarchs, Doctors of the Church, Martyrs, Virgins, Saints, and Angels. Notice the suitability of this dogmatic arrangement in a Dominican church, belonging to the stewards and guardians of orthodoxy. The painting unites Florentine grandeur with Sienese tenderness.

On the right wall is a very ugly Inferno, attributed to Orcagna’s brother, Bernardo, and divided into set divisions, in accordance with the orthodox mediæval conception, which is similarly crystallised in Dante’s poem. The various spheres are easily followed by students of the “Divina Commedia.”

Do not omit to observe the very beautiful altar-piece, also by Orcagna. Its chief subject[57] is Christ giving the keys, on the one hand, to Peter, and the book, on the other hand, to the great Dominican saint and philosophical teacher, St. Thomas Aquinas. The allegorical meaning is further accentuated by the presence of the Madonna and St. John, patrons of this church and city. We have thus St. Thomas placed almost on a plane of equality with the Papacy. The other figures are St. Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine with her wheel, St. Lawrence with his gridiron, and St. Paul with his sword. In the predella beneath are subjects taken from the stories of the same saints. The most interesting is the struggle for the soul of the Emperor Henry II. (See Mrs. Jameson.) The Emperor is seen dying; then, devils go to seize his soul; a hermit sees them; St. Michael holds the scales to weigh the souls; the devils nearly win, when, suddenly, St. Lawrence descends, and places in the scale a gold casket which the Emperor had presented to him (once at Bâle, now in the goldsmiths’ room at the Musée de Cluny); the scale bends down, and the devils in a rage try to seize St. Lawrence. A quaint story, with an obvious moral, well told in this predella with spirit and vigour.


This chapel as a whole is one of the best smaller examples now remaining of a completely decorated Giottesque interior. Not a single element of its frescoes and Dominican symbolism should pass without notice. Observe, before you leave, St. Thomas Aquinas on the arch, in four characters, as Prudence, Justice, Courage, and Temperance. The Strozzi Chapel again is one to which you must pay frequent visits.

Descend the steps. The door in front leads to the Sacristy. The most interesting object in it is a lavatory in marble and terra-cotta of the school of Della Robbia. The pictures of Dominican saints with which it is adorned have little more than symbolical interest.

The left aisle contains no object of special interest.




This completes a first circuit of the church itself; but you have still to see the most interesting object within its walls—the Spanish Chapel. Do not attempt, however, to do it all in one day. Return a second bright morning, between ten and twelve, and pay a visit to this gem of early architecture and painting.

A door to the right of the raised Strozzi chapel, in the left transept, leads into the cloisters. It is locked. You must get the sacristan to open it. He is usually to be found in the Sacristy.

The first cloister which you enter, known as the Sepolcreto, and containing numerous mediæval or modern tombs, has faded Giottesque frescoes, two of which, in the bay to the right as you descend the steps, pretty enough in their[60] way, have been made famous (somewhat beyond their merits) by Mr. Ruskin. That on the left, in a curiously shaped lunette, represents, with charming naïveté, the Meeting of Joachim and Anna at the Golden Gate. Observe the conventional types of face and dress in the two saints, and the angel putting the heads of the husband and wife together; also, the servant carrying the rejected offering, all of which are stereotyped elements in the delineation of this subject. The fresco to the right represents the Birth of the Virgin, and may be instructively compared with the Ghirlandajo up-stairs, and also with the Taddeo Gaddi and the Giovanni da Milano at Santa Croce. The simplicity of the treatment is indeed reminiscent of Giotto’s manner, but few critics, I fancy, will agree with Mr. Ruskin in attributing these works to the actual hand of the master. Remember, too, that Giotto is always simple, because he is early; later times continually elaborated and enriched his motives. On the side walls, to the left, the angel appears to Joachim and Anna simultaneously; on the right is the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple. Compare these naïve works with the frescoes in[61] the Madonna dell’Arena at Padua, and other examples.


This cloister also contains a vulgarly coloured and somewhat coarse terra-cotta relief of Christ as the Gardener and the Magdalen in the Garden. I will not further particularise, but several hours may be spent in examining the objects in this single courtyard alone, many of which are extremely interesting. From the base of the oratory containing this relief is also obtained one of the best views of the church and campanile.

The second cloister, known as the Chiostro Verde, is decorated with very faded frescoes, in shades of green, representing the history of Genesis. There is a good general view of the church and campanile from the farther end of this cloister.

The green frescoes, I fear, will scarcely interest you at first, and may be passed over with a few glances on a preliminary visit. But you must return to them later on, because, defaced and destroyed as they are (more so within my own memory), they are yet important links in the history of Renaissance art, and especially in the development of perspective, anatomical[62] knowledge, and the drawing of the nude human body. (See Layard’s Kugler, under Paolo Uccello.) They represent the incidents of Genesis, by various hands; but the best are the Sacrifice of Noah, and the Deluge, by Paolo Uccello, not in the least sacred, and full of admirable naturalistic incidents. They help to bridge over the gap in this church between Giottesques like Orcagna and late fifteenth century Renaissance painters like Filippino Lippi and Ghirlandajo. I will not dwell upon them now, but advise you, at some future time, when your conceptions of the evolution of art in Tuscany have become clearer, to return to them for some hours at least of patient study.

A door to the right of the entrance gate leads into the famous Cappella degli Spagnuoli, or Spanish Chapel, whose beautiful external architecture, with twisted columns, should be observed before entering. It was erected about 1340 by a rich Florentine citizen, for the celebration of the Festival of Corpus Christi, then newly instituted. Its present name dates only from the age of Cosimo I., who assigned it to the suite of Eleanor of Toledo.

This chapel is the finest existing example[63] (save the Arena at Padua) of a completely decorated Giottesque interior. The frescoes are by uncertain artists, but rank among the noblest productions of their period. It would require many days adequately to examine all the beautiful objects which this building contains. I will therefore call attention in detail to a few only. Those first mentioned are peculiarly appropriate to a Chapel of the Corpus Christi.

On the altar wall, facing you as you enter, is the History of the Passion, in consecutive sections, after the early fashion, probably by an artist of the school of Siena. On the left is the Way to Calvary; above it, the Crucifixion, every detail of which should be closely studied. Notice in particular St. Longinus, the centurion who pierced the side of Christ, and who was afterward converted, distinguished by his halo. On the right is Christ descending to Hades, and liberating the souls, with the crushed and baffled demons. First among the dead are Adam, Abel with his lamb, and the various Patriarchs. Every detail in these three works will give a key to other compositions.

The compartment of the ceiling above this[64] fresco represents the Resurrection, with Christ in a mandorla; the Three Women at the tomb; and Christ and the Magdalen in the Garden. Observe once more every detail of this beautiful composition: it is probably the work of Antonio Veneziano. (But do not trouble much at this stage about these artists; confine your attention to the details of the action.)


The right wall contains a very famous **fresco, commonly attributed to Taddeo Gaddi, but much more probably a work of Simone Martini or some other artist of the early school of Siena (Cavalcaselle attributes it to Andrea di Firenze). It represents the Way to Paradise, especially as shown by the Dominican Fathers. Study this noble allegorical work in full detail. Below, on the left, is the Church Militant, represented by the original design of the cathedral at Florence, as sketched by Arnolfo, with Giotto’s façade, and the Campanile beside it. Below this, as in the Dantesque ideal,—that splendid embodiment of mediæval Christian theory,—sit enthroned the spiritual and temporal authorities, the Pope, with his pastoral staff, and the Emperor, with his sword and ball; at whose feet lie the Faithful, represented as a flock of sheep,[65] and guarded by black and white dogs, the domini canes, or Dominicans. To the left of the Pope are the various Church dignitaries,—cardinal, archbishop, bishop, priest, deacon, and monks and nuns of the various orders, each in the garb of their profession or monastic body. Foremost among them observe the black and white robes of the Dominicans, closely allied with their Franciscan brethren. To the right of the Emperor, again, stand the various temporal authorities,—kings, princes, marquises, dukes, lawyers, burghers, gentlefolk, pilgrims, artisans, beggars, and women. (Most of these are said to be contemporary portraits—the Pope, Benedict XI.; the Emperor, Henry VII.; the King, Philippe le Bel of France; the Bishop of Florence of the period, and so forth; while others are considered on merely traditional authority to be Cimabue, Arnolfo, Giotto, Petrarch, Laura, etc. I advise you, however, to pay little attention at first to such real or supposed portraits, the identification of which merely distracts you from the underlying import and beauty of the picture. In any case, the poets and painters at least seem to be wrongly named. Thus, the cavalier in the[66] curious white hood, usually pointed out by the guides as Cimabue, is much more probably Walter de Brienne, Duke of Athens, who also appears on a white horse in the Crucifixion.) The whole assemblage thus represents the mediæval world, temporal and spiritual. Beyond these, to the right, is the Way to Paradise, Dominican Fathers pointing the road, and arguing and expostulating with heretics, whom St. Thomas Aquinas, on the extreme right, is confuting, so that some of them tear up their heretical books, while others stop their ears and refuse to listen. Oriental costumes (representing Eastern sectaries) may be detected among them. In the foreground, the Dominicans, as black and white dogs, are worrying the heretical teachers under the guise of wolves, thus symbolising the terrible functions of the Inquisition. In the second tier, winding around above to the right, are seen the pleasures and vanities of this wicked world, with dancing figures; while a Dominican Father is showing souls the way to heaven, and another is giving absolution to sinners. These figures thus represent Sin, Confession, Absolution, and Penitence. Farther to the left, again, the Souls of[67] the Righteous, a joyous company, are being welcomed and crowned by delicious little angels at the Gate of Heaven, where St. Peter with the keys stands to open the door for them. Within is a vista of the Heavenly City, with adoring saints, among whom St. Lawrence and St. Paul are specially conspicuous. Over the dome of the church, too, is seen the half-figure of the great Dominican nun, St. Catherine of Siena. Thus this part of the picture symbolically represents the Church Triumphant, as that below represents the Church Militant. The whole composition is crowned by Christ in Glory, with adoring angels.

I have given here only a brief outline of this noble glorification of the Dominican Order; but attentive observers will discover for themselves many other interesting and curious features which I have been compelled by considerations of space to pass by in silence.

The compartment of the ceiling above this fresco represents the Ship of the Church, under the guise of the Apostles on the Sea of Galilee, with Christ and Peter walking on the water. It is partly copied from Giotto’s famous mosaic, now built into the newer St. Peter’s at[68] Rome. The quaint fisherman to the left is common to both of them.

The entrance wall has a Last Supper, and frescoes of the History of St. Dominic and St. Peter Martyr, the founder and the holy man of the Dominican Order.

The compartment of the ceiling above these has an Ascension, with Christ in a mandorla, the apostles and Madonna, and the messenger angels (by Taddeo Gaddi?).


The left wall contains a highly allegorical and architectural picture, doubtless correctly ascribed to Taddeo Gaddi, and representing the Glory of St. Thomas Aquinas. Above, the Saint is seated, enthroned, with the open book, as the Doctor of the Church, and the great Dominican teacher. Beneath his feet are the discomfited heretics, Arius, Sabellius, and Averrhoes. (See the similar scene by Benozzo Gozzoli in the Louvre.) By his side are the great teachers among the Prophets and Apostles, their names inscribed beneath them. On the right are St. Matthew and St. Luke the Evangelists, Moses with his conventional horns, Isaiah, and King Solomon; on the left, St. John and St. Mark the Evangelists, St. Paul, the great organ[69]iser of Christian teaching, David as the Psalmist, and Job as the dialectician of the Old Testament. Thus these figures represent Doctrine and Dogma under both dispensations. Only in this Dominican church could a great Dominican teacher be so highly exalted at the expense of the earlier canonical writers. Note the angels above, with their various symbols.

The lower tier consists of symbolical figures of the Arts and Sciences, with various personages at their feet distinguished for proficiency in them. The following is their order from left to right: Civil Law, with Justinian; Canon Law, with Pope Clement V. (a portrait); Practical Theology, with Pietro Lombardo, “magister sententiarum;” Speculative Theology, with Boethius; Faith, with St. Dionysius the Areopagite; Hope, with St. John of Damascus; Charity, with St. Augustine; Arithmetic, with Pythagoras; Geometry, with Euclid; Astronomy, with Ptolemy; Music, with Tubal-Cain; Dialectic, with Aristotle; Rhetoric, with Cicero; and Grammar, with Priscian. The whole thus represents the philosophical and teaching faculty of the Dominicans, as the opposite side represents their pastoral activity in saving souls.


The two great frescoes may indeed be distinguished as the spiritual and temporal mission of the Dominicans.

The compartment of the ceiling above this fresco represents the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost (by Taddeo Gaddi?). The Spirit, as a dove, is descending from heaven, while tongues of fire alight on the heads of the Madonna and Apostles, chief among whom, in accordance with the authoritative character of Dominican teaching, is naturally St. Peter. Below, by the closed doors, are the various nations, who hear the Apostles speak with tongues, each understanding that of his own country. Observe the Moors and the Oriental costume of some of the characters.

Come often to this chapel until you have learned to understand its architectural plan and have puzzled out such of its infinite details as cannot here be adequately explained to you. It is not well, indeed, to be told everything. I shall be quite satisfied if I put you on the track, leaving you to find out many points for yourself. But sit long and observe, remembering that everything in this Chapter-house of Dominicanism is full of meaning. In my judgment, too,[71] these pictures are as beautiful as works of art as they are important as a body of Dominican theology. The little group of the Souls as they enter Heaven is one of the most charming and attractive conceptions of all Giottesque painting.

It is impossible to over-estimate the value of photographs for the study of frescoes, especially when the originals are either defaced or faded. Every one knows how fatiguing it is to stand long in a church and look up at the walls. The photograph you can inspect at your leisure at home, and so familiarise yourself at least with the composition and the story of the subject. After you have thus got to know the picture in black and white, return to the church to examine it again. You will then find that the colour and the size, as well as the artist’s touch, vivify and brighten what in the photograph was often dead and meaningless. Also the photograph, besides giving you the composition in a measurable space which the eye can grasp, so generalises the figures as often to supply in effect missing lines and obscure portions. Of course you must not rely on the photograph alone; but, when used in conjunction with, and as supplementary to, the frescoes themselves, these[72] secondary aids are simply invaluable. I advise you to apply them here in particular to the Ghirlandajos of the choir (especially for comparison with the two Lives of the Virgin by Taddeo Gaddi and Giovanni da Milano in Santa Croce), and also to the frescoes of the Spanish Chapel. If you wish to specialise, I would suggest as the best theme the subject of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, which is treated by all three of these successive artists, as well as by several panel-painters at the Belle Arti.

Above all, seek to learn the legends. Religious symbolism is the language of early art: you cannot expect to understand the art if you will not take the trouble to acquire the language.

If you read French, and wish to go deeper into the paintings in this church and elsewhere in Florence, get Lafenestre’s “Florence,” in the series of “La Peinture en Europe,”—a capital book which gives a full account of every noteworthy picture in the city.




After the Dominicans and the Franciscans, the town began to bestir itself.

In Dante’s time, we saw the only church of any importance which Florence yet possessed was the old octagonal Baptistery, then the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista. This building (praised by Dante beyond its merits, because the town had then none better) is a small and not wholly successful specimen of that beautiful Tuscan-Romanesque architecture, which reaches so splendid and typical a development in the Cathedral of Pisa and its surrounding edifices. If you have not been to Pisa, however, you can only compare San Giovanni with the church of San Miniato on the hill south of Florence (which go up to see after inspecting the Baptistery). But San Giovanni was, in its original condition, a much more in[74]significant building than at present, its chief existing external ornaments being the great bronze doors, and the bronze or marble statues, which were added later.

At the end of the thirteenth century, once more, when Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella were rapidly rising in the garden belt outside Florence, the city began to be not unnaturally ashamed of this mean little cathedral. Pisa had already her magnificent group of buildings fully completed; Siena, stirred to rivalry, had begun and nearly finished her noble and beautiful Duomo. Florence, now risen to the first position in Tuscany, felt it incumbent upon her to produce a building which should outdo both of them. In this design, indeed, she was not wholly successful: her Duomo, though larger than either, fails to come up to its elder rivals in many important points of beauty. Fully to understand the Cathedral of Florence, therefore, you should have seen first both Pisa and Siena, on which it is based, with enormous differences. At Pisa, the actual dome, above the intersection of nave and transept, is relatively insignificant. At Siena it assumes somewhat larger proportions. At Florence, even as[75] originally designed by Arnolfo, it was to be very much bigger, and, as completed by Brunelleschi, it far outdid all previous efforts.

The Baptistery had of course been dedicated, like all other baptisteries, to St. John the Baptist, who was therefore the patron saint of Florence. But the increasing importance of the Holy Virgin in the thirteenth century (see my “Paris,” under Notre-Dame) made the Florentines desire to dedicate this their new cathedral to Our Lady. It was therefore erected in honour of Santa Maria del Fiore, that is to say, Our Lady of the Florentine Lily, which appears in the city arms, and pervades all Florence. You will see it everywhere. The Duomo was begun in 1294, on the site occupied by the earlier church of Santa Reparata, who also ranked as one of the chief patron saints of old Florence. As usual in such cases, many memorials of the saint of the original dedication survive to this day in the existing building. The first architect was Arnolfo di Cambio, a pupil of Niccolò Pisano, who executed the beautiful pulpit in the Baptistery at Pisa, where antique work is first imitated. (Recollect too that Giovanni Pisano, who built the[76] cathedral of Siena, was himself a son of Niccolò.) Thus, in order fully to understand the sequence and meaning of these three cathedrals, with their sculpture and architecture, you should (if possible) pay visits to them in the order of Pisa, Siena, Florence, with Bologna thrown in on your way homeward. This alone will enable you to understand the marvellous influence of the Pisani, and especially of that singular and original artist, Niccolò, the first mediæval craftsman who aimed at imitation of and rivalry with the antique.


Arnolfo’s work was afterward carried on by Giotto, who, like most men of his century, was architect and sculptor as well as painter. It was Giotto who added to the original design the beautiful marble-crusted Campanile, the noblest work of its sort in Italy. The fresco of the Church Militant and Triumphant in the Spanish Chapel shows the original form intended for the cathedral by Arnolfo, with the additions made by Giotto and Taddeo Gaddi. The exterior was gradually incrusted during successive ages with its beautiful polychromatic marble coating, with the exception of the façade, the lower part of which alone was so adorned, as may be seen[77] in Poccetti’s lunette in the cloisters of San Marco, to be hereafter mentioned. This façade was afterward pulled down, and the front of the cathedral remained a shapeless mass of rubble, like that of San Lorenzo, till 1875. The dome, with its beautiful ribs, which make it so much lovelier than any other, was designed by Brunelleschi, and constructed in 1420-1434. The façade, which is quite modern, was added by De Fabris in 1875.

A full study of the Cathedral of Florence with its group of subsidiary buildings can only be attempted with the aid of a thorough architectural description. You must arrive at it gradually. I will content myself with pointing out a few of the more salient elements likely to interest the general reader. If you wish to know more, run down to Pisa, and up to Siena, and study carefully the work of the Pisani. Recollect that while, in painting, Florence was fairly original, in architecture and sculpture she did but follow the much earlier lead of the two other great Tuscan cities.

Remember then, in the first place, that the Baptistery is practically the oldest building in Florence, and is the original cathedral, but that[78] most of its external decorations are of later date; and in the second place, that it is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and that all its parts have reference to its purpose and dedication; that the cathedral is dedicated to Our Lady, and that it replaces an older church of Santa Reparata; and that it owes its existing form to the successive efforts of many great architects.

A few more points must be noted. The cathedral, when completed, was the largest church then existing in Italy. St. Peter’s at Rome was designed to outdo it. Its dome was the biggest ever yet erected: view it from the Piazzale Michael Angelo on the way to San Miniato, and observe how its ribs make it much more beautiful and effective than any other dome. In addition to its original and secondary patrons, the cathedral also contained the remains of the local holy bishop, St. Zenobius (San Zanobi), who was of great importance in early times as an object of cult in Florence. The Duomo, again, was confessedly erected (in the document which decrees it) as a monument worthy in size, dignity, and beauty, not of its sacred use, but of the Florentine people. Few[79] churches are, on the whole, so much a national monument, and so little a place of divine worship. Everything here is sacrificed to the beauty and size of the exterior, which is vast and impressive. The interior, on the other hand, being destitute of vistas and long rows of columns, looks very much smaller than it really is, and contrasts most unfavourably in this respect with the immense apparent size of Pisa. The architects fell into the mistake of thinking that by making all the parts large, you would gain an idea of vastness—which is quite untrue. You can comprehend its great actual size only by visiting it again and again. There is little or nothing, however, to explain or understand. You must dwell upon it, and it grows upon you. I do not enlarge upon the history of the church, because that you must read up in Miss Horner, Mrs. Oliphant, Fergusson, and elsewhere. See also Perkins’s “Tuscan Sculptors.”

To visit first the oldest cathedral, go along the Via Cerretani as far as the Piazza which contains the Baptistery. The column of speckled marble which faces you to the right, just north of the Baptistery, was erected to commemorate[80] a miracle which took place on the translation of the remains of St. Zenobius from San Lorenzo. A tree which grew on this spot burst suddenly into leaf, out of due season, as the body of the saint was being carried by. You will find many pictures of this curious miracle in Florentine galleries. Remember it.

To your right stands the Baptistery itself, the original cathedral. It is an octagonal building, perhaps enclosing portions of an early Roman Temple, but entirely rebuilt and encased in marble in the twelfth century. Notice the three different stories of which it is composed: its Tuscan-Romanesque style, its round arches, its flat pilasters, its windows (later in their present form), and its octagonal cupola (best observed from neighbouring heights, such as the Piazzale on the Viale dei Colli). Walk right around the church and note the square apse or tribune on the west.


Being a baptistery, this building is mainly decorated with (late) works referring to the life of the Baptist. The groups above the doors, externally, consist each of three figures. Over the door to the north is the Preaching of St. John the Baptist, a trio in bronze by[81] Francesco Rustici (1511), said to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci. The hearers represent a Pharisee and a Sadducee. Over the door to the east (facing the cathedral), is the Baptism of Christ by John, a work of Andrea Sansovino, 1502. The angel is later. This set is of marble. Over the door to the south is the Beheading of John the Baptist, in bronze, by Vincenzo Danti (1517), where the third figure is ingeniously made up by Herodias’s daughter waiting for the head with a charger. These three groups thus represent in this order the principal events in the life of the patron.

The bronze doors beneath are celebrated. The first and oldest of these is on the south side, below the Beheading of John the Baptist. It was completed by Andrea Pisano, the pupil of Giovanni (perhaps a grandson of Niccolò), in 1336, and is the oldest work of art of its sort of any importance in Florence. It marks, in fact, the beginning of the desire for the plastic embellishment of the city. This gate should be compared with that of Bonannus in the cathedral at Pisa, a rude twelfth century work on which it is evidently based. Con[82]trasted with its original, it exhibits the great improvement in style effected by the Pisani; but at the same time, if compared with Niccolò’s reliefs on the pulpit at Pisa, it shows the sad falling off in the Pisan school after the death of that great and original artist, who, even more than Giotto, inaugurated the revival of art in Italy. The reliefs represent scenes from the life of the patron saint, John the Baptist. They run as follows:


On the left door, at the top, in the first relief, the angel appears to Zacharias in the Temple: notice the great simplicity of the treatment, as in Giotto. In the second, Zacharias is struck dumb. In the third is the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. (All these scenes are conventional, and based upon earlier treatments: compare the arch in the background here, as well as the relative positions of the Madonna and St. Elizabeth, with those you will find in comtemporary painting. This arch is most persistent). The fourth represents the Birth of the Baptist. In the fifth Zacharias writes, “His name is John.” In the sixth the young John departs to the wilderness. This delicious scene strikes the key-note for many subsequent Florentine treat[83]ments of the boy Baptist, who becomes with the Renaissance a most typical Florentine figure. The subject of the seventh is the Preaching of John. In the eighth, Jesus comes to Jordan. In the ninth, John baptises. (The gates were once richly gilded; traces of the gilding appear best on this relief). The tenth relief represents the Baptism of Christ, where the positions of St. John and the angel are strictly conventional, as is also the symbolical Jordan. Note all the figures and attitudes carefully. Omit the lower panels for the present.

On the right door, beginning again at the top, the eleventh relief shows John the Baptist before Herod. In the twelfth, John is sent to prison; in the thirteenth, he is visited by his disciples; this scene also recurs very frequently. In the fourteenth, Christ declares, “There hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” The fifteenth shows Herodias’s daughter dancing (the fiddler in this scene is conventional: look out for reappearances); the sixteenth represents the Decollation of St. John. In the seventeenth, the head is brought to Herodias’s daughter; in the eighteenth, she gives it to her mother: again a scene closely followed later.[84] In the nineteenth, the disciples carry the body down to burial; the twentieth shows the entombment of John. Notice the conventional representation of an interior by a canopy or symbolical roof.

All these reliefs should be most carefully studied, both as scenes in the history of John which occur abundantly elsewhere (see the silver altar from this very church in the Opera del Duomo), and also as specimens of that Gothic art which replaced the earlier attempted classical revival by Niccolò Pisano. The fact is, Niccolò was a man in front of his age, whose direct influence died out at once, subsequent sculptors preferring a treatment more consonant with the architecture and painting of the moment.

The eight lower panels contain admirable allegorical figures of the Cardinal Virtues. Each is named legibly beside it. Note them as examples of the embodied allegories so popular during the Gothic period. The Renaissance adornment at the sides of the doors was added in 1452 by Vittorio Ghiberti, son of the great Lorenzo whose main work you have next to examine.


Now, go round to the second or north door, which comes next in chronological order—a hundred years later. Florence was by this time no longer dependent upon Pisa for her artists. At the beginning of the fifteenth century it was decided to make another pair of bronze doors, and, after a competition for the choice of an artist, in which Jacopo della Quercia and others took part, the Signoria decided upon commissioning Lorenzo Ghiberti to execute them. His original panel for the competition, together with that of his chief rival, Brunelleschi, may still be seen at the Bargello. This beautiful door, in fact, represents the first beginnings of Renaissance Sculpture. (See Perkins’s “Tuscan Sculptors,” a book which you should assiduously read up in the evenings.) Compared with Andrea Pisano, the composition is richer, the relief higher, the treatment more naturalistic. (Orcagna’s reliefs at Or San Michele bridge over the gap between the two in the history of Florentine sculpture.) These gates are devoted to the life of Christ, to whom John testified.

The subjects begin on the left, third panel from the bottom, and (unlike the last) run right across from door to door, being continued up[86]ward. The first is the Annunciation, with the usual loggia and lily, and God the Father discharging the Holy Spirit: note the greater complexity and power of composition as compared with Andrea; the second is the Nativity; the third, the Adoration of the Magi; the fourth, the Finding of Christ in the Temple. Observe in all the conventional treatment. Above, in the fifth, is the Baptism of Christ—compare with the (simpler) similar subject on Andrea Pisano’s gate, also with the contemporary pictures; in the sixth, the Temptation, a fine conception, much above any previous one; in the seventh, the chasing of the money-changers from the Temple; in the eighth, Christ and Peter on the water; in the ninth, the Transfiguration; in the tenth, the Raising of Lazarus; in which note the bystanders; in the eleventh, the Entry into Jerusalem; in the twelfth, the Last Supper, a difficult composition; in the thirteenth, the Agony in the Garden; in which all the attitudes are conventional; in the fourteenth, the Kiss of Judas; the fifteenth, the Flagellation; the sixteenth shows Christ before Pilate; the seventeenth, the Bearing of the Cross (Way to Calvary); the eight[87]eenth, the Crucifixion; the nineteenth, the Resurrection, very conventional; the twentieth, the Ascension.

All these reliefs should be carefully studied, as realisations in plastic art of scenes which will be found in very similar forms among painted Lives of Christ elsewhere. (See, for example, the same moments in the Fra Angelicos in the Belle Arti.) The advance upon Andrea Pisano in composition, anatomy, and treatment of nature should also be noted. Especially admirable in this way is the spirited scene of the Entry into Jerusalem.

The eight panels below represent: in the first tier, the Four Evangelists, with their symbolical animals (irregular order): Matthew (angel), Mark (lion), Luke (bull), John (eagle). Beneath them are the Four Doctors of the Church, in the order of: Ambrose, Jerome translating the Vulgate, Gregory with dove at ear, Augustine holding the De Civitate Dei. (Each Doctor accompanies the cognate Evangelist.) Traces of gilding are here also abundantly apparent. Ghiberti was occupied upon this great work from 1403 to 1424.

Now, go around to the third or eastern door,[88] which occupied Ghiberti for the remainder of his lifetime (1425-1452.) In this marvellous task Ghiberti abandoned the simplicity of his earlier style, and endeavoured to produce, not so much reliefs as pictures in bronze, with effects of perspective not proper to plastic art. The result is nevertheless most beautiful and striking. (Intermediate works between his two styles may be found in his font at Siena.) These are the doors which Michael Angelo declared fit for the gates of Paradise. See them at about ten o’clock on a bright morning, when the sun strikes them. The subjects are taken from the Old Testament history.


Begin your examination at the top left panel, and proceed from right to left, alternately. Each panel contains several successive moments in the same subject. I will mention the most important, but several others may be discovered on close inspection. In the first panel are shown the Creation of Adam; of Eve; God’s communion with Adam; and the Expulsion from Paradise (note the fig-leaves). In the second are Adam tilling the soil; Cain and Abel at their different vocations; their sacrifices; the murder of Abel. The third[89] represents the Exit from the Ark; Noah’s Sacrifice; his Drunkenness, with Shem, Ham, and Japhet. In the fourth Abraham entertains the Three Angels; Sarah at the door of the tent; Hagar in the Desert; the Sacrifice of Isaac. Observe the beautiful stone-pines. In the fifth, Esau with his dogs comes to Isaac; Rachel and Jacob; Isaac blessing Jacob, etc. The sixth shows Joseph and his Brethren in Egypt, several successive moments, including the finding of the cup in the sack. The subject of the seventh is the Giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. The eighth represents the Ark carried round the walls of Jericho, with the blowing of the trumpets. The ninth shows the Battle against the Amorites. In the tenth Solomon receives the Queen of Sheba. You cannot too thoroughly examine these marvellous bronze pictures.

Notice also the exquisite decorative heads, and the figures of Biblical personages, the most beautiful of whom is perhaps Miriam with the timbrel to the left. I strongly advise you to get photographs of all these subjects, study them carefully at home, and then return to compare and reëxamine the originals. Only[90] thus can you gain some idea of Ghiberti’s life-work. Linger long over such exquisite groups as Abraham and the Angels, or Esau and Isaac.

Now, enter the Baptistery.

The interior, with its beautiful Tuscan-Romanesque arcade, on the second story, resembling a triforium, is much handsomer and larger than the plain exterior would lead one to suppose. (Outside, the cathedral dwarfs it.) Parts of it are adorned with admirable early mosaics. The rest has fine inlaid marble-work. It would be impossible to describe all these in full. They can be adequately seen only on a very bright morning, when it is practicable to identify most of the figures by the aid of their inscriptions. The general architecture will remind you of Pisa. The arch of the tribune, which occupies the place of an apse, perhaps belongs in part to an early Roman building,—local tradition says, a temple of Mars. Notice that the reliefs outside the tribune bear reference to the history of St. John the Baptist, as does almost everything else in this building. On the left is the Profession of the boy Baptist; on the right, his Preaching by the Jordan, with the approach of Christ; farther to the right, he baptises the Saviour.


Mount the steps to the High Altar, an ugly modern work, replacing the beautiful mediæval silver shrine, now in the Opera del Duomo. It is supported by the eagles of St. John, which you will find everywhere on this edifice (as elsewhere in Florence), and surmounted by a bad rococo group of John the Baptist and angels. The relief beneath the altar represents the daughter of Herodias receiving the head of the Baptist.

The fine early mosaic of the apse (1225) should be closely observed on a bright morning. It represents, on the right, the Madonna and Child; on the left, St. John the Baptist enthroned; in the centre, the Lamb with adoring patriarchs and prophets. Note that the figure of the Lamb is specially appropriate in a church of the Baptist, who first uses the word “Behold the Lamb of God,” always placed on a scroll around the reed cross he carries. If you will search for yourself, you will find that the whole building is full of similar baptismal symbolism.

Immediately to the left of the enclosure of the tribune is the font (of 1371), the only one in Florence, all children born in the city being baptised here. (The ceremony takes place on[92] Sunday afternoons, and is worth a visit.) The font is adorned with good early reliefs of the life of the Baptist, whose statue stands in a niche behind it.

Now, go around the church from this point to the left, noticing the beautiful early inlaid pavement, much defaced by time, and representing, opposite the High Altar, the Signs of the Zodiac.

Over the first altar, that of St. Mary Magdalen (who is often associated with St. John the Baptist as the female penitent in the desert of Provence), stands her statue by Donatello. She is represented nude and haggard, clad entirely with her own long hair. These lean and hungry penitent Magdalens will be more fully explained, with reference to their legend, when we visit the Belle Arti. Compare there the very similar picture, attributed to Andrea del Castagno or Filippino Lippi, and balanced by a Baptist. Notice the inscriptions and eagle.

Just to the right of the High Altar is the beautiful tomb of John XXIII., “formerly Pope”—an anti-Pope deposed by the Council of Constance. It was erected by his friend and adherent, Cosimo de’ Medici, who declined[93] to alter the inscription to please the successful rival. The recumbent figure of the deceased in gilt bronze on the tomb is by Donatello, but still not beautiful. Beneath are Faith, Hope, and Charity, the first by Michelozzo. The Madonna and Child above are very pleasing.

The dome has early mosaics of Our Lord in the centre, surrounded by adoring Angels. The other subjects (best identified by photograph beforehand, and then studied on the spot) are the Last Judgment, the Life of the Baptist, the Life of Christ, the Story of Joseph, the Creation, and the Flood.




From the old, proceed to the new cathedral: contrast its Gothic architecture with the Tuscan-Romanesque of the Baptistery.


The modern façade, by De Fabris, is a fine though florid piece of recent Italian Gothic workmanship, and is full of symbolism, both of the Blessed Virgin and of the Florentine Saints (Reparata, Zanobi, etc.) especially commemorated in this cathedral. To describe it in full, however, would be alien from the historical character of this guide-book. I will, therefore, only call attention to the (patroness) Madonna and Child, enthroned, in the great niche under the rose window (Sarrocchi). The saints to right and left have their names inscribed, and the words can be read by the aid of an opera-glass. Also, note the Assumption of the Madonna in a mandorla, in the pediment, just[95] beneath, and the figures of Santa Reparata and San Zanobi on either side of the doorway. Those who desire to follow the subject further can do so by the aid of the large designs in the Museum of the Opera del Duomo. I cannot unreservedly share in the frequent English utter condemnation of this florid and somewhat gaudy work, which, in spite of much overelaboration and a few gewgaws, seems to me not wholly unworthy of the place it occupies.

Proceed around to the south side to view the earlier part of the building. Under the first window, is an interesting old inscription, which should be read by those who know Latin. Just beyond it is a charmingly infantile mediæval relief of the Annunciation, where the division between the Madonna and the angel is even more marked than usual. Stand by the doorway of the Campanile, to examine the general effect of the south side. Observe the exquisite double windows, with twisted columns, and the infinite variety of the inlaid marble-work. (I cannot describe all this, but go through it slowly.) Over the first door, said to be by Giotto, is a good statue of the Madonna and Child, of the fourteenth century; above it, Christ blessing; higher still, the[96] Annunciation, in two separate niches. Do not omit to note the architecture of all these niches, and of the columns which support them. Observe that, as this is a church of Our Lady, almost all the decorations have reference to her history.

The second south door, called the Canons’ Entrance, by Lorenzo di Giovanni (1397), has, in the tympanum, a relief of the Madonna and Child, with two adoring angels, very dainty; above it, a Pietà. Observe the decorative work and statues on this beautiful doorway, foreshadowing the Renaissance. Close by, near the door, is one of the best points of view for Giotto’s Campanile.

Here the south transept, with its round (or rather obtuse-angled) apse, projects into the Piazza. Stand on the steps opposite, between the statues of the two principal architects, Arnolfo and Brunelleschi (the latter gazing up at his great work), in order to take in the arrangement of this transept, with its cupola, etc., and the dome behind it, as well as the fine angular view of the Campanile. Do not hurry over the exterior of the cathedral. Look at it slowly. It cost many lives to build,[97] and is worth an hour or two of your time to examine.

Now, go around the south transept, and stand near the door of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore to look up at the dome, whose cornice and arcade are finished on this side only. Elsewhere are seen the empty places where a similar arcade and cornice were to have been carried around it. Observe also the minor clustered cupolas below the dome. If you will carefully note the exterior architecture from this point of view, it will help you better to understand the interior. The portion facing you, which would elsewhere be the choir, is here devoted to the Tribune of San Zanobi, the great early bishop and patron.

Pass hence around the north transept and proceed to inspect the exterior of the north aisle.

The first door is by Giovanni d’Ambrogio; in the tympanum is an Annunciation in mosaic by Domenico and Davide Ghirlandajo, a beautiful Renaissance work, a little out of keeping with the Gothic exterior; above it, a very fine relief by Nanni di Banco, Assumption of the Madonna in a mandorla (adapted from, or almost modelled on, a relief by Orcagna at the back of[98] the great shrine in Or San Michele; compare the two by means of photographs, allowing, of course, for Renaissance progress). Our Lady is represented as just about to drop the Sacra Cintola or sacred girdle to St. Thomas, who kneels, a beautiful youthful figure, to the left below. This is a subject which we have seen already in fresco at Santa Croce, and which will meet us frequently elsewhere in Florence (as, for example, in the Orcagna at Or San Michele), from the local importance of the Holy Girdle preserved at Prato. Donatello is said to have completed this lovely work. The figures are almost identical with Orcagna’s, but the tree and bear to the right here replace two trees at Or San Michele. The statuettes on the pillars close by are by Donatello.


The second north door, attributed to Piero di Giovanni Tedesco, and Niccolò d’Arezzo, has pillars resting on a lion to the right, and a lioness with her cubs to the left. In the tympanum are the Madonna and Child, again, with adoring angels. Stand on the pavement opposite to take in the effect of this side of the cathedral. I have only noted the chief points; but every saint in niche or on pinnacle can be identified[99] by some sign, if you take the trouble to do so.

Now, enter the interior, which is vast and very bare. Stand first by the central door to observe the huge unimpressive nave, supported on either side by only four great arches, whose immense size and sparsity seem to dwarf the entire building. (Rows of columns like Pisa are much more effective.) Then, before you begin to examine in any detail, walk straight up the nave, to its junction with the transepts, in order to understand the nature of the architectural arrangement. The octagonal space, railed off with a low marble screen beneath the dome, is here, by a very exceptional plan, the choir. To right and left extend the apses of the transepts, looking incredibly small from within when compared with the vastness of their exterior. Note that all three ends in this direction have similar apses. Then walk around to the back of the choir, where what would usually be the chancel is known as the Tribuna di San Zanobi. Its High Altar contains the head and ashes of the sainted bishop, which are (or were) the chief object of local cult in this church. From this point of view, the [100] general proportions of the interior can best be grasped.

After thus gaining a general conception of the whole, return to the west end of the nave. The objects in the interior worth notice are not numerous. Over the central door is the Coronation of the Virgin by Christ, with adoring angels in mosaic, by Gaddo Gaddi. To right and left, over the lateral doors, are fresco-monuments in grisaille of Florentine generals, that to the right being the monument of the English partisan leader, Sir John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto) who served the Republic as a Captain of Free Companies for many years; that to the left is Niccolò Manucci di Tolentino. The rose window contains an Assumption of the Madonna.

Proceed up the right aisle, past the monument of Filippo Brunelleschi, who designed the dome, with his bust by his pupil, Buggiano, and the monument (not contemporary) of Giotto, by Benedetto da Majano. On the left is a holy water basin, with angel pouring, reminiscent of the school of Pisa. Observe, also, a tabernacle, with portrait of Sant’Antonino, Archbishop of Florence, by Morandi, and a monument of Marsilio Ficino, who did much to[101] introduce the study of Greek into Renaissance Florence.

The south transept contains on the right and the left statues of St. Philip and St. James by Giovanni dell’Opera—part of a group of eight, ringing round the octagon.

Over the doors, right and left, in the octagon, beyond the transepts, are two Della Robbia reliefs, said to be the earliest works of Luca. That to the right represents the Ascension, that to the left the Resurrection. Both are admirable. Behind the High Altar is a Pietà, the last unfinished work of Michael Angelo.

In the Tribune of San Zanobi (occupying the place usually assigned to the choir) to right and left are statues of St. John (by Benedetto da Rovezzano) and St. Peter (by the futile Baccio Bandinelli). Under the High Altar of the Tribune, is the **Arca or shrine of San Zanobi, containing his head and ashes. The exquisite relief in front of the altar, by Lorenzo Ghiberti, is in the same style as his later gates. It represents San Zanobi restoring to life the son of the Gallic lady. The child is seen doubly represented (as often in early works of the sort) first as dead, and then as restored to[102] life again. The groups of bystanders are exquisitely rendered. When there is sufficient light to observe this relief, it should be closely studied; but it is usually very dark and observed with difficulty. (See the legend in Mrs. Jameson. Many other representations of this the most famous miracle of San Zanobi are to be found in Florence.) There is a good plaster cast of the Arca in the Opera del Duomo: see it there, examine the reliefs, and then return to view the original.

From the steps behind the altar the best view is obtained of the (feeble) Last Supper by Giovanni Balducci.

In the north transept, to the right and left, stand statues of St. Andrew (by Ferrucci) and St. Thomas (by Rossi). The windows are by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Right and left of the nave, in front of the choir, are statues of St. Matthew (by Rossi) and St. James the Greater, by Jacopo Sansovino. All eight of these octagon statues are poor and uninteresting.

In the north aisle, near the first door, is Dante explaining the “Divina Commedia,” which he holds in his hands, painted on wood[103] by Domenico di Michelino, in 1465, by order of the Republic. To the right is the town of Florence, with its walls, its cathedral dome, tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, etc.; in the background, the spiral mount of Purgatory; on its summit, the Tree of Life; above, in the air, the Celestial City or Paradise, represented by various vague circles; to the left, the mouth of the Inferno. Above, as part of Heaven, are seen the heavenly bodies. On a bright day (when this picture is seen to advantage about ten in the morning) students of Dante will find in it many familiar elements of the great poem. Beyond the second door, modern monument of Arnolfo. Near it, statue of the statesman and humanist, Poggio Bracciolini, by Donatello. The first pillar has a fine picture of San Zanobi between San Crescenzio and Sant’Eugenio, by Orcagna.

Proceed one day in this connection to visit the Opera del Duomo, whose Museum is housed in a courtyard just opposite the Tribune of San Zanobi. Note the Roman remains in the courtyard; the quaint lions; and the Lamb of St. John, with Florentine lilies, over the doorway. (Lambs, eagles, and lilies pervade Florence.)[104] The lamb and flag is the arms of the wool-weavers, an important guild.

The Museum contains a few fragments from the old fabric of the cathedral, and numerous pieces of many demolished works within it, as well as pictures from the Duomo or Baptistery, which (to say the truth) can be studied here to much greater advantage than in the gloom of their original situation. If you want to study closely, buy the official catalogue. Otherwise use the hand-cards provided in each room. Among the chief objects within, too numerous to mention in detail, are, on the ground floor, Roman fragments, and (40) a fine Madonna of the school of the Pisani, probably by Giovanni Pisano; along the stairs, reliefs of Saints and Prophets, by Baccio Bandinelli and Giovanni dell’Opera; and, on the first floor, the beautiful **singing-lofts (Cantorie) with groups of singing and dancing children, by Donatello and Luca della Robbia, once in the cathedral. Examine these in detail.

The one on the wall nearest the door by which you enter is by Luca della Robbia, and is his loveliest work. Nowhere else has childhood been so sympathetically and naturally depicted.[105] Luca always succeeds best with children; he must have loved them. Observe the exquisite brackets supporting the loft, which compare most favourably with Donatello’s more ornate examples opposite. All the Renaissance decoration on this loft is lovely. The four most visible reliefs illustrate the verse in the Psalm, “Praise the Lord with the sound of trumpets, with psalteries, with harps, with timbrels,” the words of the Psalm being inscribed beneath them. Those below illustrate the remainder of the text, “With dancing, and with chords and the organ, and with cymbals.” The figures, however, though intended to be seen at this height, are not altogether well designed for the purpose. They are best examined with an opera-glass, and the two detached panels on the wall to the left are more effective as now hung than those still left in the original framework.

Donatello’s loft, on the farther wall, is also a beautiful work; yet here, if one dare say it, even Donatello suffers by comparison with Luca. His work is not, like the other, all of pure marble: it has a sort of inlaid mosaic background, while pillars, relieved with mosaic, unpleasantly interrupt its action,—features[106] which to me, in spite of the great intrinsic beauty of the decoration, somewhat mar the total harmony of the structure. Donatello’s faces, on the other hand, though less sweet when closely examined, are better designed to be seen at this height than Luca’s; but the separate figures, exquisite as they are, seem a trifle boisterous, and do not quite attain the same childish grace and ease of movement as his friendly rival’s. Donatello’s children are winged, Luca’s are human. Sit long before each, and compare them attentively: there is nothing more lovely in their kind in Florence.

The exquisite **High Altar in silver (97) comes from the Baptistery; it represents, in the centre, St. John the Baptist, the patron saint, and on either side, as well as at the end, scenes from his life, resembling in subjects those on the gate of the Baptistery.

This noble work is of different dates: the main front is of 1366-1402, while the statue of the Baptist, more Renaissance in tone, is by Michelozzo, 1451. The side-reliefs are still later: Birth of the Baptist, by Antonio Pollaiolo; his Death, by Verrocchio, about 1477-1480. Compare the dainty little scene of the boy[107] Baptist starting for the desert with that on Andrea Pisano’s door at the Baptistery.

Notice also particularly, close by, 100, 101, the charming **groups of Singing Boys by Luca della Robbia, not included in the Cantoria (where they are replaced by casts), but the finest of the series.

Among the pictures, some of the most typically interesting are: 80, Santa Reparata, holding the red and white flag, with Scenes from her Life and Martyrdom (many times attempted in vain), flanked by the other two patron saints, St. John the Baptist and San Zanobi, much smaller. The same local trio are also excellently seen in 79, close by. I advise an attentive study of all these works, which give you types of the Florentine patrons, followed by a second study, after you have visited the Belle Arti when their meaning and sequence will become much clearer to you. I do not propose to treat them here in full; but if you look around for yourself you will light upon many such interesting local traces as 73, the Decollation of St. John the Baptist, with a singular halo; 74, a mosaic of San Zanobi (1505), with the Florentine lily on his morse or buckle, and the city in the[108] background; 77, Our Lady, a fine relief, by Agostino di Duccio; 79, St. John with the two other patron saints (Santa Reparata holding the Florentine lily); 110, San Zanobi, with an Annunciation; 108, the same, enthroned between two deacons, a good intarsia by Giuliano da Majano; 107, the Baptist in the Desert, by Giovanni della Robbia; 89, the Madonna, with St. Catherine and San Zanobi; and so forth. Compare all the Santa Reparata and San Zanobi figures. In 109, the bishop is not San Zanobi, but St. Blaise, the patron of the woollen trade. Among other interesting objects, not quite so local, observe 110, the Creation of Eve, a frequent subject, always so rendered, and to be seen also on the gates of the Baptistery; and 90, a most singular martyrdom of St. Sebastian, identical in motive with the Pollaiolo in the National Gallery, and with a picture in the Uffizi: these represent a variant of the legend.

Much of the early sculpture is also most beautiful; perhaps the loveliest of all is 95, an angel by Niccolò d’Arezzo, a work almost in the style of the school of Pisa, balanced by 96, a most unusual-faced Madonna, forming be[109]tween them an Annunciation, and both bearing distinct traces of classical influence. Note also 92 and 93, beautiful statuettes of Christ and Santa Reparata, by Andrea Pisano. Under Donatello’s singing loft are quaint Byzantine Gospel stories, in mosaic and enamel, giving early forms of scenes; and an embroidered Life of the Baptist, very interesting. In the first series note especially Christ in Hades (in the second tier, on the left) and Christ receiving the soul of Our Lady (in the third tier, on the right) for future comparison. I recommend to all who really wish to understand the evolution of art a close examination of these Byzantine compositions.

The second room contains the designs for the façade of the cathedral by De Fabris and others. Those who desire to study the symbolism of the façade can do so here to the greatest advantage. The sequence of the various designs affords a perfect history of architectural art in Tuscany. Notice also the cast of the Arca of San Zanobi in the centre.

For the Campanile, designed by Giotto, and carried on after his death by Andrea Pisano[110] and Francesco Talenti, I must refer you to Baedeker. It is one of the loveliest architectural works ever planned; but it requires rather long inspection than description or explanation. All that is needed for its study (besides time) is your Baedeker and an opera-glass. The sculpture of the lower story, on the other hand, though important for the study of the evolution of that art in Tuscany, you had better defer till after you have visited the Bargello and Or San Michele. Its meaning and connection will then become clearer to you. You will understand Giotto’s relation (as sculptor) to Andrea Pisano; and Donatello’s to Orcagna; besides being in a better position to trace Donatello’s own personal development.





Whatever else you see or leave unseen in Florence you cannot afford to ignore the Monastery of San Marco. This famous convent, a perfect museum of the works of Fra Angelico, the saintliest and sweetest of the early fifteenth century painters, was originally built for Silvestrine monks, but was transferred by Cosimo de’ Medici to the Dominicans. In 1436, the existing buildings were erected by Michelozzo, whose handicraft we have already seen in the chapel of the Medici at Santa Croce. Shortly afterward Fra Angelico of Fiesole, a Dominican monk and inmate of this monastery, decorated the cells, cloisters, and chapter-house with famous frescoes, which represent the most exquisite work of the later Giottesque period, as yet wholly untouched by the Renaissance spirit. Fra Angelico is above all things an ecstatic and[112] mystical religious painter. His panel-works, it is true, may be seen in the north, but his infinitely greater skill as a fresco-painter can only be adequately estimated at San Marco, where he was painting for his own brethren, and for the glorification of the Dominican Order. Even his exquisite and saintly work in the Cappella Niccolina at the Vatican fails to attain the same spiritual level as his delicate imaginings on the cells of his own monastery. The influence of Popes and Cardinals seems to have had a chilling effect upon his humble and devout spirit. It spoiled Raphael: it merely damped the saintly Dominican.

At the end of the fifteenth century, San Marco was also the home of the great prior and preacher, Girolamo Savonarola, the fiery reformer who was burnt at the stake in 1498. His cells and many memorials of him still exist at San Marco. Fra Bartolommeo, also a monk at this monastery, was deeply influenced by Savonarola; so also were Botticelli and many other contemporary painters. Their work is full of the religious revival he inaugurated. Read up the whole of this period in Villari’s “Savonarola,” at your leisure in the evenings.


The convent was secularised after the unification of Italy, and is now preserved as a public museum.

Remember, then, these things about San Marco: It is a Dominican monastery, and everything about it has reference to the glory, or the doctrine and discipline of the Dominicans. In this respect it may be regarded as a later and more spiritual edition of the Spanish Chapel. But simple piety is its note, rather than dogmatic theology. It was founded as a Dominican house by the bounty of the Medici, whose patron saints (Cosimo, Damian, Lawrence) reappear over and over again in many parts of it. It was, in the early fifteenth century, the home of Fra Angelico, and of the holy Archbishop St. Antonine, the later saint of Florence. It was, later still, the home of Savonarola and of Fra Bartolommeo, many memorials of whom exist within it.

But, more than all else, expect in San Marco the glorification of St. Dominic and Dominicanism.

Go past the cathedral, and take the Via Cavour to the left, passing on the left the Riccardi (Medici) Palace, the original home of[114] the Medici family: notice its proximity to the Medici monastery. You will soon arrive at the Piazza of San Marco. In front of you is the Church, which omit for the present. The door to the right of it gives access to the monastery.


The exterior is unattractive. The outer cloister, which we first enter, is surrounded by a fine colonnade or loggia (Michelozzo), and encloses a pretty little neglected garden. The lunettes are filled with seventeenth century frescoes (by Poccetti and others), mainly relating to the life of St. Antonine, the famous Dominican Archbishop of Florence, and prior of this monastery. They are sufficiently explained by the inscriptions below them. But the chief objects of real interest in this court are the few *frescoes by Fra Angelico, all bearing reference to the characteristics of the Dominican Order. Facing you as you enter is the figure of St. Dominic embracing the Cross, representing the Devotion of the Dominican Order. The founder saint may usually be recognised by the little red star (here almost obliterated, but still just traceable) over his forehead. Immediately to the left of it, over[115] the door of the Sacristy, is St. Peter Martyr, with his wounded head and palm of martyrdom, placing his finger to his lips, in order to enforce the Dominican rule of silence. This fresco thus represents the Sanctity of the Dominican Order. Notice here and elsewhere the Medici pills displayed everywhere. Midway, to the right, near the entrance to the Chapter-house (which pass for the moment), is St. Dominic with his red star and open book, bearing the scourge of rods, and representing the Discipline of the Dominican Order. On the end wall, over the door of the Refectory, is a Pietà. At the opposite end, over the door of the foresteria, or rooms reserved for the entertainment of strangers, **two Dominican monks welcome Christ, in the garb of a pilgrim—“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these little ones ye have done it unto me.” This fresco therefore represents the Hospitality of the Dominican Order. For tenderness and beauty, it is unsurpassed by any work in this monastery. The next lunette has one of Poccetti’s frescoes, interesting as showing Sant’Antonino in a procession, with a view of the cathedral as it then existed,[116] giving the details of Giotto’s unfinished façade, afterward demolished. Conspicuous among the spectators on the right may be noted Savonarola, in his black and white Dominican robes, as prior of this monastery. Near the entrance door is St. Thomas Aquinas with his book, standing for the Learning of the Dominican Order: also by Fra Angelico.


Now return to the Chapter-house, on the opposite side, which contains the so-called **Great Crucifixion,—in reality the Adoration of the Cross by the Monastic Orders, and more particularly by the Dominicans in this Monastery of San Marco in the Town of Florence. This is one of Fra Angelico’s noblest paintings. Those who have only seen his small panels in the north will hardly be prepared for the freedom and vigour of this splendid picture. At the foot of the Cross stands a most touching group, with the essential figures of the fainting Madonna sustained by St. John, St. Mary Magdalen, with her long fair hair, and the other Mary. These are simply part of the conventional Calvary. The group to the right, however, for whose sake the fresco was really painted, represents the Founders of all the[117] various Monastic Orders. Nearest the foot of the Cross, and in ardent adoration, as is right in a Dominican house, kneels St. Dominic himself, with his little red star, a most powerful figure. Behind him, also kneeling, is St. Jerome, the father of all monks, and founder of monasticism, with his cardinal’s hat on the ground beside him. The two standing figures in the background represent St. Albert of Vercelli, in green and white, the founder of the order of the Carmelites, habited as bishop (a compliment to the great Florentine monastery of the Carmine); and St. Augustine, with his pen and book, as the founder of the Augustinian or Austin Friars, and author of the “De Civitate Dei.” (It was believed that the Carmelites were originally founded by Elijah, and only “revived” by St. Albert: hence his nearness to the Cross, and perhaps also the attitude in which he seems to be calling St. Jerome’s attention, as if the Old Dispensation pointed the way to the New.) Next, again, in brown Franciscan robes, comes St. Francis with the Stigmata, bearing his usual crucifix. Note how well the difference is marked between the intellectual St. Dominic, the ascetic St. Jerome,[118] and the ecstatic piety of St. Francis. Behind the last, standing, is St. Benedict, with the scourge, representing the Benedictines; in front of whom kneels St. Bernard with his book. Next, standing and holding a crutch, is St. Romualdo, the founder of the Camaldolese, in his white robe. Close by kneels San Giovanni Gualberto, founder of the Vallombrosans; these two being important monastic bodies in the neighbourhood of Florence, toward whom such politeness was only natural. Last of all, next the arch, the series is completed by the two most distinguished Dominican saints, St. Thomas Aquinas, standing, and St. Peter Martyr, kneeling, with his wounded head. These two represent respectively the Learning and the Sanctity of the Dominican Order. Note that each saint is habited in the garb of the monastic body which he founded, while only the Dominicans themselves are permitted to show any minor members. Every face is characteristic of the Order it represents: every detail has its meaning. Look out for these: they will dawn upon you.

The group to the left represents rather the Town of Florence and this Monastery of San[119] Marco situated within it. At the foot of the cross of the Penitent Thief (distinguished by a halo from his reviling companion) stands St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the town, as embodying Florence. Beside him sits St. Mark, the patron of the monastery, writing, in order that you may see he is an Evangelist. To the extreme left again, we have St. Lawrence with his gridiron, in rich deacon’s robes, as representing Lorenzo de’ Medici (the elder—Cosimo’s brother): while behind him stand the two patron saints of the Medici family, Cosimo and Damian. Of these, St. Cosimo, standing for Cosimo de’ Medici, then the ruling power in Florence, looks up toward the cross in adoration; while St. Damian, who is here merely because his presence is needed to complete the pair, turns away and hides his face, weeping,—a very courtly touch for this saintly painter. The whole composition thus indicates the Devotion to the Cross of the Monastic Bodies, and especially of the Dominicans, more particularly as embodied in this Dominican house of San Marco, in this town of Florence, founded and protected by the ruling Medici family, and especially by the brothers Cosimo[120] and Lorenzo. We can now understand why the Crucifixion is so relatively unimportant in the picture, and why all the painter’s art has rather been lavished on the three exquisite groups in the foreground. Study it all long. The longer you look at it, the more will you see in it. (The ugly red of the background was once covered by blue, but the pigment has peeled off or, ultramarine being expensive, been removed on purpose.)

Do not fail also to notice the framework of Sibyls, prophets, and patriarchs, nor the genealogical tree of Dominican saints and distinguished personages who form a string-course beneath the picture, with St. Dominic as their centerpiece, flanked by two Popes of his Order, and various cardinals, bishops, etc., whose names are all inscribed beside them. Look at each separately, observing that the saints have each a halo, while the Beati or “Blessed” have only rays around their heads. (Read up in this connection the subject of canonisation.)

After sitting about an hour before this picture (for a first impression) proceed into the Great Refectory, at the end of the same corridor. A good later fresco here, by Antonio Sogliani,[121] represents St. Dominic and the brethren at St. Sabina in Rome being fed by angels. This appropriate subject for a refectory is called the Providenza; its obvious meaning is, “The Dominican Order receives its sustenance from the Divine Bounty.” In the background is a Calvary, by Fra Bartolommeo, with St. John and Our Lady, while St. Catherine of Siena, kneeling with her lily to the right, signifies the participation of the female branch of the Dominicans in the same divine protection. (The figure to the left I take for St. Antonine.) Observe always the meaning and relevancy of refectory frescoes: the most frequent subjects are the Last Supper and the Feast of Levi.

The central door gives access to the corridor which leads to the upper story. On the left of this corridor is the entrance to the smaller Refectory, which contains a fine fresco by Ghirlandajo of the Last Supper. In this work Judas is represented after the earlier fashion (as at Santa Croce) seated opposite to Christ in the foreground. (Another Cenacolo by Ghirlandajo, so closely similar to this as to be almost a replica, exists in the Refectory of the monastery of Ognissanti in this town.[122] The two should be visited and compared together. Those who feel an interest in this frequent and appropriate refectory subject should also compare the Giotto at Santa Croce and the Cenacolo di Fuligno in the Via Faenza.) Observe in this work the characteristic decorative background, the border of the table-cloth, the decanters and dishes, and other dainty prettinesses so frequent with Ghirlandajo, who delights in ornament.




Mount the stairs to the first floor.

Opposite you, at the summit, is a beautiful **Annunciation, all the details of which should be closely studied. This is essentially a monastic treatment of the subject, severe and stern in architecture and furniture,—in which respect it may well be contrasted with such earlier treatments as Filippo Lippi’s for the Medici Palace, now in the National Gallery at London. The loggia in which the scene takes place is that of the Church of the Annunziata, here in Florence. By a rare exception at San Marco, this picture has no distinctive touch of Dominicanism. On the other hand, you will notice in almost all the cells the figure of St. Dominic, often accompanied by the Medici saints, as a constant factor. All the frescoes here are by Fra Angelico himself, unless otherwise mentioned. Opposite this Annunciation[124] is another version of St. Dominic embracing the Cross. His red star will always distinguish him.

Continue down the corridor to the right, opposite this last picture, leading through the Dormitory of the monastery, and visit the cells from right to left alternately. Each has its own fresco. I give them as they come, irrespectively of the official numbers.

The first is “Noli me tangere;” Christ as the gardener, and the Magdalen.

The second is the Crucifixion, with Mater Dolorosa, and an adoring Dominican.

The third represents the Deposition in the Tomb, with St. John and the mourning women, partly suggested by the Giotto at Padua; behind, St. Dominic with his lily, in adoring wonder.

The fourth is another Crucifixion with a Dominican worshipper (St. Peter Martyr).


The fifth, another *Annunciation, with St. Peter Martyr adoring. The flame on the archangel’s head is conventional. Notice the exquisite adoring figure of the Madonna, who here kneels to the angel, while in later treatments the angel kneels to her. This is again a very[125] monastic picture; the architecture is suggested by this very monastery.

The sixth represents the Bearing of the Cross, with an adoring Dominican (St. Thomas Aquinas?).

The seventh is a Crucifixion, with Madonna and St. John, St. Dominic, and St. Jerome. Observe the cardinal’s hat in the corner, which is St. Jerome’s emblem. As before, the figures represent Monasticism as a whole and the Dominicans in particular.

In the eighth is Christ bound to the pillar to be scourged, accompanied by a Dominican, similarly stripped for penance and flagellation. A mystical subject.

The ninth represents the Nativity, with the ox and ass and other habitual features. St. Peter Martyr with his wounded head adoring. The figure to the left is St. Catherine of Alexandria.

The tenth is a Pietà; Peter and the maid, Kiss of Judas, Scourging (with only hands visible), Judas receiving the bribe, and other symbolical scenes in background. In the foreground is St. Thomas Aquinas with his book in adoration.

On the wall, between this and the next cell,[126] are a Madonna and Child with Dominican and Medici saints,—a symbolical composition, similar to that in the Chapter-house. On the extreme left is St. Dominic; near him are St. Cosimo and St. Damian in their red doctors’ robes, representing the family of the founder; beside them, St. Mark as patron of this convent: on the opposite side, St. John the Evangelist, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Lawrence with his gridiron, representing (the elder) Lorenzo de’ Medici, and St. Peter Martyr (for Piero de’ Medici). All the martyrs bear their palms of martyrdom;—once more the Learning and Sanctity of the Dominican Order, and this convent of St Mark, with its Medici founder, and the saints of his son and brother. Note, by the way, the draped child, the red cross behind the head of Christ, and the star which almost always appears on the Madonna’s shoulder. The more you observe these symbolical points, the more will you understand Florentine pictures. I recommend the development and variation of the halo of Christ as a subject for study.

The eleventh fresco represents **the Transfiguration, Christ in a mandorla, with Moses and Elias; His extended hands prefigure the[127] crucifixion. Below are the three saints whom He took up into the mountain. On the left is the Madonna; on the right, St. Dominic observing the mystery.

The twelfth is a Crucifixion; Madonna, Magdalen, an adoring St. Dominic.

In the thirteenth are shown the Scourging and Buffeting; the Crown of Thorns. Only the hands and heads are seen: Fra Angelico could not bring himself to paint in full this painful scene. Below is St. Dominic reverently looking away from it.

The fourteenth represents the Baptism of Christ; the positions, and the angels on the bank are conventional. Observe them elsewhere. To the right are two saints adoring.

The subject of the fifteenth is the Resurrection, with the Maries at the sepulchre. Their attitudes are admirable. On the left is St. Dominic adoring.

The sixteenth is a Crucifixion, a symbolical treatment with angels and the usual St. Dominic.

The seventeenth represents the **Coronation of the Virgin, a most lovely subject, in celestial colouring. Below are adoring saints, conspicu[128]ous among whom are not only St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Peter Martyr, and St. Mark, but also, by a rare concession, St. Francis with the Stigmata. This is a compliment to our Franciscan brethren. Perhaps the cell was lent to Franciscans.

The eighteenth is a Crucifixion, in this case with no Dominican symbolism.

The nineteenth represents the *Presentation in the Temple, with a charming girlish Madonna. The St. Joseph behind is a marked type with Fra Angelico. Observe him elsewhere. On either side, St. Peter Martyr and St. Catherine of Siena,—the male and female representatives of Dominican piety.

The subjects of the twentieth are the Madonna and Child, with St. Thomas Aquinas, and (I think) St. Zenobius, Bishop of Florence. He often appears in works in this city.


The cells to the right, along the next corridor, all contain repetitions of a single subject,—the Crucifixion, with St. Dominic in adoration, but in varied attitudes, all of them significant. They need not be particularised. These frescoes are said to have been executed by Fra Angelico’s brother, Fra Benedetto, who also[129] assisted him in some of the preceding. At any rate they are the work of a pupil and imitator. The cells were those inhabited by the novices.

The last three cells in this corridor were those inhabited by Savonarola, as the little Latin inscription testifies. The first contains his bust, with a modern relief of his preaching at Florence (by Dupré). The walls have frescoes by Fra Bartolommeo, contrasting ill with his mediæval predecessor: Christ as a pilgrim received by two Dominicans, etc. The second contains a portrait of the great prior by Fra Bartolommeo, and Savonarola relics. The third has a curious picture of the scene of his burning in the Piazza della Signoria,—interesting also as a view of the Florence of the period. (Read up the period in Villari: see also George Eliot’s “Romola”).

Now, return to the head of the staircase by which you entered, and proceed to examine the cells in the corridor beyond the great Annunciation.

The first to the left contains a quaint genealogical tree of the Dominican Order, and several relics, sufficiently described on their frames. These are the rooms of St. Antoninus, and con[130]tain the bier on which his body used to be carried in procession. It now rests in the adjoining church. The fresco represents Christ delivering the souls of the pious dead from Hades. Notice the personal Hades crushed under the doors of Hell, as described in the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. The white robe, and the banner with the red cross, always mark Christ after the Crucifixion till the Ascension. Observe the lurking devils in the crannies. Conspicuous among the dead is the figure of St. John the Baptist, patron of Florence, who, having predeceased the Saviour, was then in Hades. Study this picture closely.

In the second cell to the left are represented Christ and the Twelve; the Sermon on the Mount. In the small cell adjoining are two scenes of the Temptation, with ministering angels. The fourth cell contains another Crucifixion, with fainting Madonna and an adoring Dominican.

Beyond this cell, the door to the right gives access to the Library, whose architecture has coloured several of Fra Angelico’s pictures in the Dormitory. The cases contain beautiful illuminated manuscripts, chiefly by Fra Bene[131]detto, all of which should be inspected, though description is impossible.

In the next cell to the right is a Crucifixion, with St. Longinus piercing the side of Christ, and an adoring Dominican. St. Martha, exceptionally represented in this picture, has her name inscribed accordingly. She occurs elsewhere here: I do not know the reason, but one must be forthcoming. Could it have been the name of the painter’s mother or sister?

To the left is the Kiss of Judas, unusually spirited, with Roman soldiers, and Peter cutting off the ear of Malchus (a constant concomitant). This picture has perhaps more action than any other by Fra Angelico. Here, also, in a frame, is the *Madonna della Stella, one of Fra Angelico’s most famous smaller works.

In the adjacent cell is an exquisite little *tabernacle of the Coronation of the Virgin, closely resembling the well-known picture in the Louvre. The saints below are worth the trouble of identifying. Here also is a fragment of a fresco of the Entry into Jerusalem.

Next is the Agony in the Garden, with Mary and Martha, and an exquisite little tab[132]ernacle of the Annunciation and the Adoration of the Magi. Contrast Fra Angelico’s style in fresco and panel. Below is a row of named saints: identify their types.

Then comes a fresco of the Last Supper, an unusual and symbolical treatment with wafers and patina: say rather, a mystic Institution of the Eucharist. Four Apostles have risen from their seats and kneel: on the other side, a kneeling saint in white—not, I think, Our Lady. Notice the quaint device of the windows, in order to suggest the upper chamber.

In the last cells on the left are shown Christ being nailed to the Cross (with Nicodemus, Joseph of Aramathæa, and Longinus), and a Crucifixion, with St. Dominic spreading his arms in adoration, and St. Thomas with his book, philosophically contemplating the mystery of redemption. Observe such frequent touches of characterisation. Note, too, the halo on the penitent thief, whose anatomy is unusually good for Fra Angelico.

On the end wall is a tapestry with the arms of the Medici.

The cells to the right are those which were occupied by Cosimo Pater Patriæ, when he re[133]tired to the convent, in retreat, for prayer and meditation. The first therefore contains a Crucifixion, with St. Cosimo, St. John, and St. Peter Martyr (the last two as patrons of Giovanni and Piero de’ Medici). Cosimo could thus pay his devotions to the Saviour before his own patron and those of his sons. The upper cell, where Cosimo slept, contains a Pietà, above which is the Adoration of the Magi, doubtless as representing worldly authority submitting to the Church, and therefore most appropriate for the retreat of the powerful founder. Notice the characteristic figure of Joseph. The attitudes of the Three Kings also occur exactly alike in many other pictures. The train of attendants with horses and camels to the right (most fearsome monsters) are also characteristic. The riders are supposed to be observing the Star in the East. Notice the attempt to introduce types of Orientals, some of whom have truly Asiatic features. This cell also contains a good terra-cotta bust of St. Antoninus, and a portrait of Cosimo (in the dress of his patron saint) by Pontormo, of the sixteenth century (not of course contemporary, but reconstructed from earlier materials). St.[134] Antoninus used here to converse with Cosimo, who also received Fra Angelico.

After visiting the Monastery of San Marco, I advise you to pay a brief visit to the Church of San Marco by its side,—originally, of course, the chapel of the monastery. The façade is of the eighteenth century, and ugly, but contains interesting symbolism of St. Mark, St. Dominic, St. Antonine, etc., which you will now be in a position to understand for yourself. In the porch, on the holy water stoup, and elsewhere, the balls of the Medici.

The interior, though ancient, was so painfully altered in the sixteenth century as to preserve little or nothing of its original architecture. It contains, however, a few old works, the most interesting of which are a Christ on a gold ground over the central door, said to be by Giotto. (Compare with several old crucifixes in the Uffizi.) The Madonna over the second altar is by Fra Bartolommeo, a monk of the monastery. Over the third altar (St. Dominic’s) is an early Christian mosaic of the Madonna, from Rome, so greatly modernised, with new saints added, as to be of little or no value. But the most interesting object in the[135] church is the Chapel of St. Antonine, prior of the monastery, and Archbishop of Florence, whose cells you have already seen in the adjoining dormitory. It still contains the actual body of the archbishop. The architecture is by Giovanni da Bologna, who also executed the statue of the saint. The other statues (poor) are by Francavilla. The frescoes by the entrance represent the Burial and Translation of St. Antonine. This chapel, ugly enough in itself, helps one to understand the late frescoes in the monastery. The church also contains the tombs of the two distinguished humanists and friends of the Medici, Pico della Mirandola and Poliziano. You will not fail to observe, throughout, the Dominican character of the church, nor its close relation to the adjoining monastery and its inmates.

Visit some other day the Riccardi, formerly the Medici Palace, close by, the original home of the great family, before it migrated to the Pitti. The chapel is very dark; therefore, read all that follows before starting. This palace was built in 1430 for Cosimo Pater Patriæ, by Michelozzo, the Medici architect, who also built the Monastery of San Marco and the Medici[136] Chapel at Santa Croce, as well as Piero de’ Medici’s pretty little baldacchino or shrine at San Miniato. Compare all these, in order to understand Michelozzo’s place in the evolution of Renaissance architecture. Note, too, how the politic Medici favoured both the important monastic bodies. This was the palace of Lorenzo de’ Medici, and it continued to be the family home till the Medici migrated about 1549 to the Pitti. It was sold ten years later to the Riccardi family, whose name it still bears; and it is now the Prefecture.

The exterior of the palace is very handsome: the rustica work here for the first time is made to taper upward. Notice the admirable cornice. The Court is imposing: it contains a curious jumble of tombs, busts, sarcophagi, antique inscriptions, and mediæval fragments. The medallions above the arcades are by Donatello, after antique gems. The total effect is too mixed to be pleasing.

But the great reason for visiting the Medici Palace is the Chapel. This dark little building is entirely covered with one gorgeous **fresco by Benozzo Gozzoli, painted by means of artificial light, about 1460,—his greatest work,—[137]and one of the loveliest things to be seen in Florence. It represents the journey of the Three Kings to Bethlehem, represented as a stately mediæval processional pageant through a delicious and varied landscape background. Benozzo was a pupil of Fra Angelico, and he took much from his master, as well as some hints from Gentile da Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi, now in the Belle Arti (but then at Santa Trinità), which you will see hereafter; the two should be carefully compared together. Therefore, on this account also, you should bear in mind the double connection between San Marco and the Medici Palace. Note, however, that Benozzo has a sense of landscape and pretty fantastic adjuncts denied to Fra Angelico’s ascetic art, and only shared in part by Gentile da Fabriano. At San Marco all is monastic sternness; at the Medici Chapel, all is regal and joyous, all glitters with gold and glows with colour.

On the left wall, the Eldest King, mounted on a white mule (cruelly mutilated to make a door), rides toward Bethlehem. The venerable face and figure are those of the Patriarch Joseph of Constantinople, who was then in[138] Florence attending the abortive council already mentioned for the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches. A troop of camels bearing his present zigzags along the mountain route in front of him. Notice also the hunting leopard, already introduced into a similar scene by Gentile da Fabriano, whose influence on Benozzo is everywhere apparent.

On the end wall comes the Second or Middle-aged King, in a rich green robe, daintily flowered with gold. To mark his Eastern origin, he wears a turban, surmounted by a crown. The face and figure are those of John Palæologus, Emperor of Constantinople, then in Florence for the same purpose as the Patriarch Joseph. His suite accompany him. Observe to the far left three charming youths, wearing caps with the Medici feathers.


On the right wall, the Young King, on a white horse like the others, and wearing a crown which recalls Gentile, moves on with stately march in the same direction. This king is a portrait of Lorenzo the Magnificent. In front of him, two pages bear his sword and his gift. Behind him, various members of the Medici family follow as part of the pro[139]cession: among them you may notice Cosimo Pater Patriæ, with a page leading his horse. Farther back, some other less important personages of the escort, among them Benozzo himself, with his name very frankly inscribed on his head-gear.

On the choir wall, groups of most exquisite and most sympathetic angels stand or kneel in adoration. These charming figures originally uttered their sonorous glories to the Madonna and Child in the central altar-piece, which has been removed to make way for the existing window. This altar-piece was by Benozzo himself, and represented the Adoration of the Child; it is now in the Old Pinakothek at Munich. I do not know at what time the original Adoration was removed, but in 1837 Filippo Lippi’s Nativity, now in the Belle Arti, filled the vacancy.

I have very briefly described the main idea of these ineffably beautiful frescoes. You must note for yourself the rich caparisons of the horses, the shepherds and their flocks, the pomp of the escort, the charming episodes in the background, the delicious and fairy-like mediæval landscape, the castles and rocks, the[140] trees and bright birds, the hawks and rabbits, the endless detail of the fanciful accessories. Pomegranate and vine, stone-fir and cypress, farmyard and trellis, all is dainty and orderly. In these works for the first time the joy in the beauty of external nature, just foreshadowed in Gentile da Fabriano, makes itself distinctly and consciously felt. If the naïve charm of Benozzo’s rich and varied work attracts you, you can follow up their artist’s later handicraft in the Campo Santo at Pisa, and in the lost little mountain town of San Gimignano, near Siena.




By far the most important gallery in Florence, for the study of Florentine art at least, is the Accademia delle Belle Arti in the Via Ricasoli. This gallery contains a splendid collection of the works of the Tuscan and Umbrian Schools, from the earliest period to the High Renaissance, mostly brought from suppressed churches and convents. It is destitute, indeed, of any works by Raphael, Michael Angelo, Leonardo, Titian, and the other chief painters of the early sixteenth century. But it possesses a magnificent series of the great artists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when art was feeling its way, whose works are therefore so much more interesting to the student of the history and evolution of painting. It begins with a collection of Giottesque altar-pieces, and then leads gradually on, through[142] the slowly improving art of the early fifteenth century, to the great group of glorious Florentines, Filippo Lippi, Filippino Lippi, Botticelli, Verrocchio, who immediately preceded the early sixteenth century movement in art which culminated in the Decadence. It is also the first gallery which you should visit, because its historical range is on the whole less varied, its continuity greater, its stages of development more marked, than in other instances. Being confined to the early painters of Florence and of the upland country behind it, it enables you more readily to grasp the evolution of art in a single province, up to the date of Raphael, than you can do elsewhere. I advise you, therefore, to spend many days in this gallery before proceeding to the Uffizi and the Pitti. Or, if this sounds too hard a saying, then look through the two last-named casually first, but begin your definite study in detail with the Belle Arti.

Go to the cathedral square, and then take the Via Ricasoli to your left. A little before you arrive at the Piazza of San Marco, you will see on your right a door which gives access to the gallery—officially known as the Reale Galleria Antica e Moderna.


The first room which we enter—the outer corridor—contains Early Tuscan panels, chiefly altar-pieces from suppressed churches, and of comparatively small artistic value. Nevertheless, as leading up to later works, and as exhibiting the characteristic assemblages of Florentine or Tuscan saints, they deserve the closest attention. I will not particularise as to many of them, but will call attention as we pass to a few interesting details. Unless you study these early and to some people unattractive works you can not properly comprehend the later ones. I will lay stress only on the saints or motives which oftenest recur, so as to lead you gradually on to a knowledge of the subject.

On the left wall is 51, an Ascension, with St. Lawrence, as a Medici patron; St. John, as patron of Florence; St. Benedict; and St. Mark. Above, in two separate lozenges, is the Annunciation, from a monastery in Florence.

In 49, a Crucifixion, note the St. John and Magdalen, and the angel catching the sacred blood—a frequent feature. Look out for it elsewhere. The blood was preserved in the Holy Grail. Some of it is at Bruges and in reliquaries in other churches.


Number 47 is by Neri di Bicci, that late manufacturer of Giottesque pictures to order; the subject St. Francis with the Stigmata, embracing the Cross; to the extreme right, the ascetic portrait of St. Bernardino of Siena. The other saints are Jerome, the Baptist, Anthony of Padua, and the Magdalen. A Franciscan picture.

Number 46 is a Madonna, attributed most doubtfully to Cimabue. It looks much more like a work of the school of Giotto. Notice the goldfinch.

Among the group of Saints close by, notice again, 43, St. Lawrence, in his usual rich deacon’s robes. This is from the monastery of San Marco.

In 35 we get once more a Holy Trinity (observe its composition) with St. Cosimo and St. Damian, St. Francis kneeling, and other saints. Do not overlook the medical instruments of the holy doctors, nor the little Annunciation in the predella. The remaining saints are named beneath. Observe always such named saints: they will help you to identify others by the emblems.


Number 32, a Neri di Bicci, should be ob[145]served for its St. Apollonia with the pincers (often carrying a tooth elsewhere) and St. Catherine with the wheel. Note its spikes, which you will find tolerably constant. This picture came from the convent of St. Apollonia; hence the position of the saint and her sister martyr. St. Louis of Toulouse should also be noted.

Number 28, by the same artist, is a most characteristic Annunciation, with loggia, the orthodox division between the angel and Madonna, the Eternal Father discharging the dove, the bedchamber in the background, and all the typical Giottesque peculiarities. I specially recommend a study of Annunciations. This gives the commonest type; notice it carefully.

In 27 you get the old patron saint of Florence, Santa Reparata, whom you saw so abundantly at the Opera del Duomo.

In 26, note St. Barbara with her tower, as well as the characteristic Florentine figure of St. John the Baptist. The bald head of St. Paul (with his sword, on the left) has the typical features always given to the Prince of the Apostles. The other saints are Benedict and John the Evangelist.


Number 22 is excellent for comparison of the central subject with the last; while the St. Michael to the left, weighing naked souls, and trampling on a highly Giottesque dragon, strikes a common key-note. To the right, St. Stephen, with the stones on his head, is equally typical. Note the circle of angels above, and the trio playing musical instruments below, who develop later into the exquisite child-cherubs of Raphael or Bellini. Every detail here is worth study, not as art, but as type or symbol. Go from one picture of a subject to others like it.

In 21, St. Vincent Ferrer, the Dominican, may be studied for future recognition.

Number 20 has a Trinity, noticeable for its very youthful Eternal Father. Compare its St. Michael with that in the last. The St. Anthony the Abbot is also characteristic. To the extreme right, beyond St. Francis, stands St. Julian, patron saint of Rimini. Do not overlook the six-winged red seraphs, and the Annunciation in the lozenges. The inscription gives the name of the donor and the date, 1416.

Number 18 is another St. Bernardino of Siena, bearing the IHS, with which we are al[147]ready familiar at Santa Croce. Observe the well-known portrait character of the pictures of this saint. The picture is from the Franciscan convent of Monte Oliveto.

Number 14, a Madonna with cardellino or goldfinch, by Bicci di Lorenzo, may be compared with the so-called Cimabue close by. Note that this is a Franciscan picture (from San Francesco in Fiesole); therefore it has St. Francis with the stigmata, St. Louis of Toulouse habited as a bishop in a red robe, spangled with fleurs-de-lis, and with the crown which he rejected lying at his feet, as well as St. Anthony of Padua, holding the flames, and St. Nicholas of Bari with his three golden balls. Do not omit to note throughout such details as the flamelike ornaments on the heads of the angels, and the subjects represented on the bishops’ robes. All these will often cast light upon the nature of the subjects.

Cross over the room to the opposite side and return toward the door.

Number 13 is another Franciscan picture, with the same three Franciscan saints as 14, reinforced by St. Bernardino of Siena, once more bearing his IHS; St. Jerome, with his[148] cardinal’s hat and open book (as translator of the Vulgate), and St. Sebastian holding his arrow and palm of martyrdom. The last figure shows the work to be probably a votive offering for the plague, painted for a Franciscan church. It comes from the Florentine convent of St. Jerome, whence that saint is introduced with the others.

Number 12, the Life of the Virgin is interesting to compare with Fra Angelico’s scenes in the adjoining room, and with the little series of histories by Giotto to be noticed later. Contrast particularly the Flight into Egypt and the Adoration of the Magi with other treatments. The way in which Joseph examines the Elder King’s gift is highly characteristic. The development of these subjects from those (in fresco) by Giotto in the Arena at Padua is very instructive. Do not omit the Madonna ascending above in a mandorla, with the kneeling donor, nor the little Annunciation in the lozenges of the gables.

Number 11 has its saints named. Compare them with 20 just opposite. You will thus be enabled to form a type of St. Julian. The St. Peter and St. Paul in the lozenges above are[149] also typical. Note their features. You will by this time be familiar with the characteristic faces assigned to St. Anthony with his crutch, and to St. John the Baptist. Observe in later art that the somewhat infantile innocence of St. Lawrence is preserved but modified.

In 10, a Crucifixion, note the scorpion banner frequent with the soldiers who kill the Redeemer, and identify all the personages.

Number 9 is interesting for its inscription, and its group of saints, who are excellent types of their personages,—Nicholas of Bari, Bartholomew, San Firenze (a local bishop), and St. Luke. It comes from the church of San Firenze in Florence, which is why that saint is so prominent.

Number 8, by Ugolino da Siena, should be compared with the two works on the same subject (Coronation of the Virgin) by Neri di Bicci. In the great group of saints beside it you will now have no difficulty in distinguishing, to the left, St. Peter Martyr with his wounded head, in Dominican robes; St. Paul, with his sword; St. Bartholomew, with his knife; to the right, St. Peter, with the keys; St. John the Baptist; St. Dominic, with his lily; and St. Thomas[150] Aquinas, with his ray-bearing book. Notice that this is therefore a Dominican work. As a matter of fact, it long occupied the High Altar of Santa Maria Novella, which shows how important it is to understand the origin of a picture. You can now see why the Virgin is there (the church being hers); and why the Dominicans and St. John the Baptist accompany her. A little inspection will also enable you to identify many other figures, such as that of St. Gregory the Pope (behind Peter and John), with the Spirit as a dove whispering in his ear, as always. Remember each saint you identify, and use him for later identifications.

In 7 you will have no difficulty in distinguishing St. Lawrence, St. Sebastian, St. James, St. John, etc. The gradino has subjects from the legend of Joachim and the Madonna—her birth, Presentation in the Temple, Sposalizio, etc., with which the frescoes in Santa Croce will have familiarised you.

Number 6 contains a version of the frequent subject of the Virgin ascending to heaven and dropping her girdle, the Sacra Cintola, to St. Thomas, many variants upon which will occur in other rooms in this gallery. As the girdle[151] was preserved at Prato, this was a common theme in this district.

Number 5 contains another Annunciation, where all the adjuncts are extremely typical. Observe the quaint figure of St. Luke painting the Madonna. In the other saint you will recognise St. Apollonia.

Number 4 is a somewhat unusual type of Presentation, with a good characteristic figure of St. Benedict. If you can read Latin, make out the inscription on this and other pictures. They often help you.

I cannot too strongly recommend close study of these superficially unattractive pictures, which, nevertheless, contain the germ of all that comes after in Tuscan and Umbrian art. Go over them again and again, till you are sure you understand every figure. I would advise you to get the official catalogue, and note in every case whence the picture comes, as well as why the various saints are in it.

Now pass straight along this entrance hall till you reach the Cupola, with the **David of Michael Angelo transferred to this place from the door of the Palazzo Vecchio. This famous statue, the first great work in sculpture of the[152] artist, was modelled out of a block of marble which had been spoiled and abandoned. (Read the good remarks on the subject in Baedeker.) In this youthful effort Michael Angelo shows more poetry, and less of his rugged massiveness, than in his latter work. Both in painting and sculpture he is more attractive, indeed, in his treatment of the youthful nude male form than in his women or his elder men and draped figures. Remember that this is a great masterpiece.

Adjoining the David is a collection of casts of all the plastic work of Michael Angelo. Taking this room in connection with the Medici tombs in the Nuova Sagrestia at San Lorenzo, you get a better opportunity of studying Michael Angelo’s work as a sculptor than can possibly be attained anywhere else. As, however, these works require merely a general taste for sculpture, and close observation and comparison on the part of the visitor, for their proper appreciation, they do not enter into the special scheme of this work, which is purely explanatory. I recommend long and attentive scrutiny of all, with the aid of such critical remarks as are to be found in the various valuable books on the[153] subject of Michael Angelo by English and German critics (Springer, Symonds, etc.). Do not study the sculpture at the same visit with the pictures. Go to San Lorenzo on a separate day, and then come back here more than once for comparison.




Pass along the corridor containing the casts, and enter the first door on the left, which leads to the Sala del Perugino.

This room and the two adjoining ones contain the noblest and most beautiful pictures of the Florentine Renaissance. Strictly speaking, in order to preserve the chronological order, you ought to go first to the Sala dei Maestri Toscani; but as you must return to the Academy many times, it will do you no harm to begin in this manner.


To the right of the doorway is **57, a very noble Perugino, representing the Assumption of the Virgin, in a mandorla, surrounded by a group of cherubs in the same shape. Her attitude, features, and expression of ecstatic adoration, as well as the somewhat affected pose of her neck and hands, are all extremely charac[155]teristic of Perugino. So are the surrounding groups of standing and flying angels; the angel immediately to the spectator’s left of the Madonna has also the characteristic poise of the head. Above is the Eternal Father, in a circle, with adoring angels. Below stand four Vallombrosan saints, as spectators of the mystery (the picture comes from the great suppressed monastery of Vallombrosa). You will grow familiar with this group in many other parts of the gallery, as most of the pictures were brought here at the suppression. The saints are San Bernardo degli Uberti (in cardinal’s robes); San Giovanni Gualberto (the founder); St. Benedict (in brown); and the Archangel Michael. Note their features. The figure of St. Michael, in particular, may be well compared with the other exquisite St. Michael, also by Perugino, from the great altar-piece in the Certosa di Pavia, now in the National Gallery in London. This Assumption is one of Perugino’s finest and most characteristic works. It deserves long and attentive study. Such compositions, with a heavenly and earthly scene combined, are great favourites with Umbrian painters. (See them at Perugia, and in Ra[156]phael’s Disputà in the Vatican.) Do not fail to notice the beautiful landscape background of the country about Perugia. Study this work as a model of Perugino at his best.

On the left wall is 56, *Perugino, the Descent from the Cross, a beautiful composition. The scene takes place in characteristic Renaissance architecture. The anatomy and painting of the dead nude are worthy of notice. Observe the way in which the Madonna’s face and head stand out against the arch in the background, as well as the somewhat affected pietism of all the actors. On the right are the Magdalen and Joseph of Arimathea; on the left, St. John and Nicodemus. Notice their types.

Beyond the door, 53, is a Perugino, the Agony in the Garden. The attitudes of the Saviour and the three sleeping apostles are traditional. Look out for them elsewhere. The groups of soldiers in the background are highly redolent of Perugino’s manner. So is the charming landscape. Compare this angel with those in the Vallombrosan picture first noted in this room. Observe Perugino’s quaint taste in head-dresses; also, throughout, here and in[157] the Assumption, the Umbrian isolation and abstractness of his figures.

Above, on this wall, *55, is a Fra Filippo Lippi, a very characteristic Madonna and Child enthroned. The Medici saints, Cosimo and Damian, in their red robes, and two holy Franciscans, St. Francis and St. Anthony of Padua, stand by. The faces and dresses of the Medici saints are typical. The Madonna belongs to the human and somewhat round-faced type introduced into Tuscan art by Filippo Lippi. Note, in the arcaded niches at the back, a faint reminiscence of the older method of painting the saints in separate compartments. This is a lovely picture; do not hurry away from it. It comes, you might guess, from a Franciscan monastery—namely, Santa Croce. I took you first to that church and Santa Maria in order that such facts might be the more significant to you.

Number 54 is a Fra Filippo Lippi, St. Jerome in the desert, with his lion in the background, and his cardinal’s hat and crucifix. The impossible rocks smack of the period. This is a traditional subject which you will often meet with. Don’t overlook the books and pen[158] which constantly mark the translator of the Vulgate.

Number 52 is a St. Barbara, by Cosimo Rosselli, a curious but characteristic example of this harsh though very powerful painter. In the centre stands St. Barbara herself, with her tower and palm of martyrdom, as if just rising from the throne on which she had been sitting. Beneath her feet is a fallen armed figure, sometimes interpreted as her father, sometimes as the heathen proconsul, Marcian, who ordered her execution. The picture, however, as the Latin elegiac beneath it relates, was painted for the German Guild of Florence. Now, St. Barbara was the patroness of artillery (the beautiful Palma Vecchio of St. Barbara at Venice was painted for the Venetian Guild of Bombardiers). I take the figure on whom she tramples, therefore, though undoubtedly an emperor in arms, to be mainly symbolical of the fallen enemy. In short, the picture is a Triumph of Artillery. To the left stands the St. John of Florence; to the right St. Matthias the Apostle, with his sword of martyrdom. Two charming angels draw aside the curtains: a frequent feature. Study this as a typical example of Cosimo[159] Rosselli. It comes from the Florentine Church of the Annunziata.

On the right wall, near the window, *66, is a Ghirlandajo, a Madonna and Child, enthroned, in reality a Glorification of the Angels. (It must have come, I think, from some church degli Angeli.) To the left stands St. Dionysius the Areopagite, who was said to have written a treatise (still existing) on the angelic hierarchy (drawn from Hebrew sources). Kneeling at the feet is his spiritual father, St. Clement the Pope, as a secondary personage. To the right is St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Dominican robes and with his open book, as the great vindicator of the position of the angels. Kneeling at the feet is his spiritual father, St. Dominic. The picture was clearly painted for the Dominicans; but the figures are placed in diagonal order, I believe by some misconception of the donor’s wishes. Observe that the angels in whose honour this fine picture is painted are here, quite exceptionally, provided with starry halos. Beneath the main picture, a series of little works in a predella, containing stories from the lives of these saints—decapitation of St. Denis (identified with Dionysius the Areopagite); he carries[160] his head; St. Dominic restores the young man Napoleon to life, doubly represented, etc.

Number 65, above, a Luca Signorelli, the Madonna embracing the Cross, is a good sample of this able and powerful Renaissance painter.


Beyond the door, 62, is **Filippo Lippi’s Coronation of the Virgin, the finest altar-piece by this great master. It is well to compare it with the earlier treatments of the same subject in the corridor, from which it is, oh, how much, developed and beautified. I will not attempt any description of this noble and beautiful work, one of the masterpieces of early Italian painting. I will merely call attention to a few formal points in it. Notice first, in the centre, the extremely human Virgin, no longer the Queen of Heaven, but a Florentine lady, whose features reappear again in the touching figure in blue in the right foreground, with the two children (said to represent Lucrezia Buti, the painter’s wife, and their two little ones, including Filippino. Read up the romantic story of their elopement in any good history). On either side of the throne, adoring angels with sweet childish faces. The rest looks confused at first, but will gradually unravel itself into a celestial and terrestrial[161] scene, with saintly mediators. To the extreme right is St. John of Florence, preserving his traditional features, but transformed and transfigured by spiritual art. He introduces and patronises the kneeling figure of Filippo Lippi beside him, whom a scroll in Latin (“This man composed the work”) designates as the painter. To the left are St. Zenobius and other saints, amongst whom the patriarch Job is specially identified by the very inartistic device of writing his name on his shoulder. Do not overlook the frequent obtrusion of the Florentine lily. This picture can be adequately appreciated only after many visits. It is one of the most exquisite things to be seen in Florence. Very human in its models, it is divine and spiritual in its inner essence.

Above it, 63, is a Trinity, in the conventional form, by Mariotto Albertinelli: good, but uninteresting.

The other pictures in this room, including the fragment of two charming little angels by Andrea del Sarto (from Vallombrosa), though deserving attention, do not stand in need of interpretation. Examine every one of them, especially that attributed to Francia.



Now, enter the room to the right, the Sala Prima del Botticelli. Facing you as you enter is **80, Botticelli’s Primavera, perhaps the most beautiful picture in the world. This exquisite allegory has been variously explained. I give my own interpretation. It is probably one of four panels representing the seasons. In the centre stands the figure of Spring, who is therefore significantly painted as pregnant. To the extreme left, Mercury, the god of change, with his caduceus, dispels the clouds of winter. (Perhaps rather Favonius, the west wind, in the guise of Mercury.) Beside him, an unspeakably beautiful group of the Three Graces, lightly clad in transparent raiment, represent the joy and freshness of spring-time; on whom a winged and blindfolded Love, above the head of Primavera, is discharging a fiery arrow—since spring is the period of courtship and mating. The figures to the right represent the three spring months. On the extreme right is March, cold and blue, blowing wind from his mouth (notice the rays), lightly clad, and swaying the trees as he passes through them. Next to him, as if half escaping from his grasp, is April, somewhat more fully draped in a blue and white sky. On the[163] hem of her robe green things are just sprouting. She seems as if precipitating herself into the lap of May, who, erect and sedate, fully clad in a flowery robe, scatters blossoms as she goes from a fold of her garment. March blows on April’s mouth, from which flowers fall into the lap of May. The obvious meaning is “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers,”—a Tuscan equivalent for which proverb still exists in Italy. The action of March’s hands probably represents the old idea that he borrows three days from April. I will not attempt to say anything about the æsthetic beauty of this exquisitely spiritual and delicate work. It is one of those profound pictures which must be visited again and again, and which gain in intensity every time you look at them. As to place, it was painted for Lorenzo de’ Medici’s villa at Castello: notice it as one of the first purely secular paintings, with Renaissance love of the nude, which we have yet come across.

To the left of it, *81, is a Visitation, by Pacchiarotto. The central part of the picture should be compared with the Mariotto Albertinelli in the Uffizi. The arrangement of the figures and the way they are silhouetted against[164] the arch is almost identical. It should also be compared with the Ghirlandajo in the Louvre (where the first use of the arch in this way occurs) and other examples, such as the Giotto at Padua. This, however, is not a Visitation simple, but a Visitation with attendant saints, amongst whom to the left stands St. John the Baptist. He, of course, could not possibly have been present at the moment, as he was still unborn—thus well showing the nature of these representative gatherings. Kneeling in the foreground to the right is St. Vincent, the patron saint of prisoners, holding handcuffs, whence it is probable that the picture was a votive offering for a release from Barbary pirates or some form of captivity. Behind is St. Nicholas of Bari, with his three golden balls. The other saints are the two St. Anthonies—the Abbot, and the Paduan: note their symbols. Most probably the donor was an Antonio who wished to stand well with both his patrons. The architecture of the triumphal arch shows study of the antique. The bronze horses are suggested by those over the doorway of St. Mark’s at Venice. Note the dove brooding above the picture. The technique of this somewhat hard and dry but[165] admirable and well-painted work deserves close attention. I have entered at length into the evolution of Visitations in one of my papers in the Pall Mall Magazine.

Below it, 82, is a Fra Filippo Lippi, a Nativity; good and characteristic. Note the ruined temple, ox and ass, etc., as well as Lippi’s nascent endeavour to overcome the difficulty of placing the attendant saints, well shown in the figure of the Magdalen to the right of Our Lady. He is striving hard after naturalistic positions. The infant, of course, is Lippi all over. Beneath the St. Jerome, observe the figure of the kneeling St. Hilarion, doubtless the name saint of the donor. The whole of this quaint work is highly interesting as exhibiting the conscious effort after greater freedom, not yet wholly successful.

Number 79, opposite, the Virgin adoring the Child, by Fra Filippo Lippi, is a very similar picture. It should be closely compared with the preceding. The hands of God appearing through the clouds, discharging the Holy Spirit, are an interesting feature. Note again the attempt to introduce the youthful St. John the Baptist of Florence in a more natural manner.[166] Compare with the great Coronation of the Virgin. From about this time, too, Renaissance feeling makes the young St. John (more or less nude) tend to supersede the adult representation. Study these two pictures carefully. The saint in white is St. Romuald, the founder of the Camaldolese: this altar-piece comes from Camaldoli.

Number 78 is a Perugino; the Crucifixion with the Madonna and St. Jerome, the latter attended (as usual) by his lion. Our Lady is a good figure, but the rest of the picture is unworthy of Perugino. It comes from the monastery of St. Jerome in Florence—whence the saint.

Number 76 is an Andrea del Sarto; the subjects four Vallombrosan saints, originally painted on either side of an adored Virgin, much older. To the left is St. Michael; observe the exquisite painting of his robe and armour. The other saints are San Giovanni Gualberto (the founder), San Bernardo degli Uberti, and St. John the Baptist. Compare them with the group of similar saints in Perugino’s Assumption. Both for character and technique such comparison is most luminous.



Number 73 is Botticelli’s Coronation of the Virgin (from the monastery of San Marco). The main subject of this vehement work should be compared, or rather contrasted, with the early Giottesque examples. The beautiful and rapturous flying angels are highly characteristic of Botticelli’s ecstatic conception. Observe the papal tiara worn by the Father. In the earthly scene below are four miscellaneous saints observing the mystery. I do not understand the principle of their selection. They are St. John the Evangelist, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Eloy (Eligius), the holy blacksmith. Look for the last again on Or San Michele, where one of his miracles is recorded in bas-relief under his statue, where he is similarly represented in his blacksmith’s forge in the predella. See Mrs. Jameson.

On the right of it *is Verrocchio’s Baptism, perhaps the most famous example of this well-known subject. Somewhat hard and dry, with peasant-like ascetic features, the St. John is yet a noble figure, very well painted, with excellent anatomical knowledge. His position, as well as the cup which he raises and the cross which he holds, are strictly conventional; they may be[168] seen in many earlier examples. So also is the course of the narrow and symbolical Jordan. The angels on the bank, replacing the earlier river-god of the Ravenna mosaics, and holding the conventional towel, are extremely beautiful. The softer and more delicately touched of the pair to the left is said to have been painted in by Leonardo (a pupil of Verrocchio), and indeed it seems to bear the impress of that great painter’s youthful manner. Do not overlook the hands discharging the dove. I have treated more fully the evolution of this subject in an article on “The Painter’s Jordan” in the English Illustrated Magazine.

Number 70, a Masaccio, is a very inadequate specimen of this great painter. The Madonna and Child sit on the lap of St. Anne, a conventional position charmingly transformed by Leonardo in his well-known picture in the Louvre.

On the base of this wall are several small stories of saints which should be studied in detail. Among those by Botticelli (already referred to), notice particularly St. Eloy (St. Eligius), the holy blacksmith, cutting off the leg of a refractory horse in order to shoe it, and afterward miraculously restoring it. Compare with[169] the same subject at Or San Michele. Close by is a very charming series by Pesellino, the best of which is the Martyrdom of the Medici saints, Cosimo and Damian. Observe them for comparison with Fra Angelico in an adjoining room. Read up in Mrs. Jameson.

Number 69, by Michele Ghirlandajo (do not confound him with his great namesake), is a Marriage of St. Catherine of Siena (not Alexandria). Distinguish these two subjects. This is an unusual treatment, the Christ being represented as adult (he is usually an infant in this scene) and the Madonna as an elderly woman. Not a good picture, but interesting for comparison with others of this subject. The assistant saints are St. Paul, King David, St. John, and St. Dominic. The insipid St. Catherine contrasts most markedly with the inimitably beautiful figure by Borgognone in the National Gallery. The picture comes from the Dominican convent of Santa Caterina at Florence, which explains all the characters.

Beyond the door is a Granacci, the Assumption of the Virgin, an unusually fine specimen of this comparatively late painter. On the ground below are St. Bernardo degli Uberti, St. Michael[170] the Archangel, San Giovanni Gualberto, and St. Catherine of Alexandria with her spiked wheel. You will now have little difficulty in discovering for yourself that this is essentially a Vallombrosan picture. It comes from the monastery of Santo Spirito.

Recross the Perugino Room and enter the Sala Seconda del Botticelli.

On the entrance wall to the left, 98, is a *Descent from the Cross, the upper portion by Filippino Lippi, with whose style you will already have become familiar at Santa Maria Novella. Filippino died leaving it unfinished, and the lower part, with the fainting Madonna and saints, was added by Perugino. This is an excellent opportunity for comparing the styles of the two painters. The Mary to the right supporting the Madonna is extremely Peruginesque in face and attitude. Note the three nails in the foreground which recur elsewhere. Compare also the kneeling Magdalen with Fra Angelico at San Marco. Observe how differently hands and feet are by this time painted. In both parts of this picture we have good examples of the increased knowledge of anatomy, of the nude, of perspective, and of light and[171] shade in the later Renaissance. Filippino’s somewhat fly-away style is also well contrasted with Perugino’s affectation and pietistic simplicity.


Beyond the doorway, 97, is a Fra Bartolommeo, the Madonna Appearing to St. Bernard. A characteristic example of this, to my mind, overrated painter. The crowded arrangement of the attendant angels is very typical. Compare with the infinitely nobler treatment of the same subject by Filippino Lippi in the church of the Badia. I advise you to go straight there from this picture to visit it.

Above it, 96, is a good Andrea del Sarto, charmingly delicate in colouring. A Vallombrosan picture; the saints are again San Giovanni Gualberto and San Bernardo degli Uberti.

Number 94 is a Lorenzo di Credi, the Nativity, with adoring angels. Compare this with 92 beside it, Adoration of the Magi, where the Child is almost identical. This exquisite painter is somewhat less successful in works on this larger scale than in the smaller examples of his art which we shall see at the Uffizi. Nevertheless, in 92 the shepherd to the left is a most charming figure. The smoothness and clearness[172] of the style is conspicuous. Note throughout the conventional accessories. Nothing is more interesting than to see the way in which these and the landscape are transformed and improved from earlier usage. St. Joseph’s feet are deserving of study.

Above, are two ascetic Andrea del Castagnos. Of these, the companion figures of St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalen (also combined in the Baptistery) must be regarded from the point of view of the lean and hungry penitent only. These pictures are good because they attain their object; they are expressions of a painful and repulsive ideal.

Number 90, a Raffaellino del Garbo, the Resurrection, with sleeping Roman soldiers, is worthy of attention for its conventional detail.

Number 88, a Madonna and saints, by Botticelli, is a Franciscan Medici picture. To the extreme left is St. Mary Magdalen with the alabaster box of ointment; next her, St. John of Florence; then, the kneeling figures of Sts. Cosimo and Damian, the former significantly placed on the Madonna’s right. Beyond again are St. Francis with the Stigmata and St. Catherine of Alexandria with her wheel. The[173] two female saints and the face of St. Damian are very characteristic of Botticelli’s manner. A beautiful but not wholly satisfactory example.

In 85, *Botticelli, Enthroned Madonna, with adoring saints, Our Lady and the Child are highly characteristic. The angels drawing the curtains and holding the crown of thorns and three nails appear to be portraits of Medici children. They are very lovely. The female saint to the left, whom I take to be St. Catherine, is the familiar model reappearing in the Three Graces of the Primavera. St. John of Florence, in the foreground, admirably represents Botticelli’s ideal. The St. Michael beside him, in refulgent armour, is also a beautiful embodiment. The other saints are St. Ambrose and St. Barnabas—the latter because the altar-piece was painted for the altar of his church in Florence. A picture not to be lightly passed over.

The ascription of 84 to Botticelli is doubted, I think unduly. Comparison of these two St. Michaels ought surely to satisfy the most skeptical. The Three Archangels conducting Tobias, who holds the fish which is to cure his father Tobit. Such pictures are often votive offerings[174] for escape from blindness. (Read the story in the Apocrypha.) The springy step of all the characters is essentially Botticellian. Notice the contrasted faces of the elder St. Michael; the affable Archangel, Raphael, who holds the boy’s hand; and the spiritual Gabriel, with the Annunciation lily. Study these three Archangels closely. I advise you to compare all these Botticellis, noticing particularly the peculiar sense of movement, the tripping grace and lightness of his figures, as well as the spiritual and elusive tone of his somewhat morbid faces. Botticelli paints souls, where Ghirlandajo paints bodies.

You cannot spend too much time in these three rooms, which form a perfect history of the art of the Renaissance. Supplement them by visits to the Brancacci Chapel at the Carmine, and a run over to Prato, where you will find the finest works of Filippo Lippi.




Now, go along the Michael Angelo corridor as far as the Long Gallery, and pass into the Sala Prima Toscana.

This contains works of the earlier mediæval type, the culminating point of Giottesque painting.

In front of you as you enter, on easels in the middle, are two of the noblest and most beautiful pictures of the early fifteenth century. That to the left is **Gentile da Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi, the most gorgeous altar-piece of the Early Umbrian School, still enclosed in its original setting of three arches. This great work, which comes from the Sacristy of Santa Trinità in Florence, should be closely studied in all its details. Contrary to custom, the Madonna occupies the left field. The ruined temple and shed to the left, the attendants[176] examining the Elder King’s gift, the group of the Madonna and Child, with Joseph in his conventional yellow robe, and the Star which stands “over the place where the young Child was,” should all be observed and compared with other pictures. (I may mention parenthetically that the Star of Bethlehem in Adorations is in itself worth study, being sometimes inscribed with the human face, and sometimes developed in curious fashions.) Examine also the group of the Three Kings, the eldest of whom, as usual, is kneeling, having presented his gift and removed his crown; while the second is in the act of offering, and the third and youngest, just dismounted from his horse, is having his spurs removed by an obsequious attendant. The exquisite decorative work of their robes, the finest product of the Early Umbrian School, deserves close attention. Note, next, the cavern of the Apocryphal Gospels in the background, with the inevitable ox and ass of the Nativity. The two or three servants who formed the sole train of the Magi in earlier works have here developed into a great company of attendants, mounted on horses and camels, to mark their Oriental origin, and dressed in[177] what Gentile took to be the correct costumes of Asia and Africa. Note the excellent drawing (for that date) of some of the horses, and the tolerably successful attempts at foreshortening. Observe likewise the monkeys, the hunting leopard, the falcons, and the other strange animals in the train of the Kings, to suggest Orientalism. All this part of the picture should be closely compared with the inexpressibly lovely Benozzo Gozzoli of the Procession of the Kings in the Riccardi Palace. The face of the Young King is repeated in one of the suite to the extreme right. Examine all these faces separately, and observe their characterisation. Do not overlook the fact that the principal ornaments in this splendid picture are raised in plaster or gesso-work, and then gilt and painted.


The background of the main picture also contains three separate scenes of the same history. In the left arch, the Three Kings, in their own country, behold the Star from the summit of a mountain. In the centre arch, they ride in procession to enter Jerusalem and inquire the way of Herod. In the right arch, they are seen returning to their own country. Do not be satisfied, however, with merely identifying[178] these points to which I call attention; if you look for yourself, you will find others in abundance well worth your notice. This is a picture before which you should sit for long periods together.

Two subjects remain in the predella, the third is missing here (now in the Louvre, Presentation in the Temple). To the left is the Nativity, with the angels appearing to the shepherds. In the centre is the Flight into Egypt.

The gable-ends or cuspidi also contain figures, which do not seem to me by the same hand. On the right and left is the Annunciation, in two separate lozenges; in the centre, the Eternal Father, blessing. The scrolls with names will enable you to identify the recumbent kings and prophets.

This picture, dated 1423, strikes the key-note for early Umbrian art. Observe how its Madonna leads gradually up to Perugino and Raphael. Softness, ecstatic piety, and elaborate decoration are Umbrian notes. You cannot study this work too long or too carefully.


The second of these great pictures is Fra Angelico’s Descent from the Cross,—his finest work outside the realm of fresco. This also deserves the closest study. Observe that, in[179] spite of its large size, it is essentially miniature. To the left is the group of the Mater Dolorosa and the mourning Maries. Hard by, the Magdalen, recognisable (as always) by her long golden hair, is passionately kissing the feet of the dead Saviour. St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea,—the latter a lovely face,—distinguished by their haloes, are letting down the sacred body from the Cross, which St. John and another believer receive below. To the extreme right is a group of minor disciples, one of whom (distinguished by rays, but I cannot identify him) exhibits the Crown of Thorns and the three nails to the others. The figure in red in the foreground is possibly intended for St. Longinus. Above, in the arches, are sympathising angels. This is a glorious work, full of profound feeling. The towers and wall of the city, recalling those of Florence, should also be noticed. The trees and landscape are still purely conventional.

On the frame are figures of saints: to the left St. Michael the Archangel, a glorious realisation; St. Francis with the Stigmata; St. Andrew; and St. Bernardino of Siena; to the right St. Peter with the keys; St. Peter Martyr[180] with his wounded head; St. Paul with the sword (observe the type); and a bearded St. Dominic, with his red star and lily. In the gable ends or cuspidi are three saints by Don Lorenzo Monaco, who can usually be recognised by the extreme length and curious bend of his figures. (See him better at the Uffizi.) On the left are Christ and the Magdalen in the garden; in the centre, the Resurrection; on the right, the three Maries at the tomb. Compare with the Annunciation just to the right on the wall, by the same painter.

Now begin at the left wall by the door. These pictures represent the earliest art of Tuscany, and are mostly altar-pieces.

High up is a curious “Byzantine” (say rather, barbaric) figure of St. Mary Magdalen, as the Penitent in Provence (see Mrs. Jameson). As always in this subject, she is clad entirely in her own hair, which the modesty of the early Christian artist has represented as covering her from head to foot like a robe. It is here rather red than golden. She holds a scroll with the rhyming Latin inscription,—

Ne desperetis, vos qui peccare soletis,
Exemploque meo vos reparate Deo:


that is to say: “Despair not ye who are wont to sin, and by my example make your peace with God.” At its sides are eight small stories from the life of the saint, biblical and legendary. Beginning at the top, on the left is the Magdalen washing the feet of Christ; the canopy represents a house; the tower shows that it takes place in a city; on the right, the Resurrection of Lazarus, represented (as in all early pictures) as a mummy; note the tower, and the bystanders holding their noses. In the second tier: on the left are Christ and the Magdalen in the garden; on the right, she goes to Marseilles, with Martha and St. Maximin, and converts the people of that city, which observe in the background. In the third tier: on the left, she takes refuge as a penitent, now clad only in her luxuriant hair, in the Sainte Baume (a holy cave in Provence), where she is daily raised to see the Beatific Vision by four angels. (Look out for later representations of this subject, often improperly described as the Assumption of the Magdalen.) On the right, the Magdalen, at the mouth of the cave, has the holy wafer brought her by an angel. In the fourth tier: on the left, St. Maximin, warned by an angel[182] that the Magdalen is dying, brings her the Holy Sacrament to her cave; on the right, he buries the Magdalen at Marseilles; canopy and tower again representing church and city.

Beneath this, 100, is a similar early figure of St. John in the desert, with his own head in a charger before him: ill described as Byzantine.

Number 101 is a curious barbaric picture of Madonna and saints, with scenes from the life of Christ: brought from the Franciscan convent of Santa Chiara at Lucca. The saints can be sufficiently identified by their inscriptions. Compare the quaint St. Michael with Fra Angelico’s, and the St. Anthony and St. Francis with those later types with which we are already familiar. Never forgot that these rude early works form the basis of all later representations. Notice Santa Chiara, to whom the work is dedicated (see Baedeker, Assisi).

Number 102, a Cimabue, Madonna and angels, resembles the picture in Santa Maria Novella, but with a considerable variation in the angelic figures, here rather less successful. It is, I think, an earlier picture. Beneath it are four prophets in an arcade, holding scrolls with inscriptions from their own writings, interpreted[183] by mediæval theologians as prophecies of the Holy Virgin.

Next it, 103, is a similar altar-piece by Giotto, with same central subject, where the difference of treatment and the advance in art made by the great painter are tolerably conspicuous. At the same time, Giotto is never by any means so interesting or free in altar-pieces as in fresco. The best figures here are the angels in the foreground. The details of both these pictures deserve attentive study and comparison.

Then, 116, Taddeo Gaddi, the Entombment, with the risen Christ in a mandorla above, and angels exhibiting the instruments of the Passion. The attendant St. John and other figures in this fine work should be compared with the corresponding personages in Fra Angelico’s Descent from the Cross. They serve to show how much the Friar of San Marco borrowed from his predecessors, and how far he transformed the conceptions he took from them. This is one of the best altar-pieces of the school of Giotto. Do not hurry away from it. The OSM stands for Or San Michele, from which church the picture comes.

Number 127 is an Agnolo Gaddi, Madonna[184] and Child, with six Florentine saints. Note the dates and succession in time of all these painters. Compare the central panel with the Giotto close by to show its ancestry. The other saints are St. Pancratius (from whose church and high altar it comes); St. Nerius; St. John the Evangelist; St. John the Baptist; St. Achileus; and Santa Reparata of Florence. For these very old Roman saints, little known in Florence save at this ancient church, consult Mrs. Jameson. Omit the predella for the moment.


Beneath these pictures is a set of panels, attributed to Giotto, and representing scenes in the life of Christ. They originally formed part of a chest or cupboard in the sacristy of the church of Santa Croce in Florence, as the very similar series by Duccio still do at Siena; (if you go to Siena, you should compare the two). Though not important works, they deserve study from the point of view of development. Note, for example, in the first of the series, the Visitation, the relative positions of the Madonna and St. Elizabeth, and the arch in the background—an accessory which afterward becomes of such importance in the Pacchiarotto in an adjacent room, and in the Mariotto Alber[185]tinelli in the Uffizi. Observe, similarly, the quaint Giottesque shepherds in the second of the series: their head-dress is characteristic; you will meet it in many Giottos. The Magi, with their one horse each, may be well compared with the accession of wealth in Gentile da Fabriano; while the position of the elder king and the crown of the second are worth notice for comparison. Observe how almost invariably the eldest king has removed his crown and presented his gift at the moment of the action. Earlier works are always simpler in their motives: never forget this principle. Not less characteristic is the Presentation in the Temple, with fire in the altar, where the figures of St. Joseph, on the right, and St. Simeon, on the left, are extremely typical. The Baptism has the unusual feature of the Baptist and the angels on the same bank, while a second figure waits beyond with the towel. The Transfiguration prepares you for Fra Angelico’s in St. Marco. The Last Supper, with Judas leaving the table, is an interesting variant. The Resurrection shows most of the conventional features. The Doubting Thomas also sheds light on subsequent treatments.


Compare these works with those in the predella of the Agnolo Gaddi, where the story of Joachim and Anna, with which you are now, I hope, familiar, is similarly related. Joachim expelled from the Temple, with the angel announcing to him the future birth of the Virgin, ought by this time to be a transparent scene. In the Meeting at the Golden Gate you will recognise the angel who brings together the heads of wife and husband, as in the lunette at Santa Maria Novella. The Birth of the Virgin has, in a very simple form, all the characteristic elements of this picture. So has the Presentation in the Temple, with its flight of steps and its symbolical building. Most interesting of all is the Annunciation, which should be closely compared with similar representations.

Beneath this Agnolo Gaddi, again, is a small series, also attributed to Giotto, of the life of St. Francis. The scenes are the conventional ones: compare with Santa Croce: St. Francis divesting himself of his clothes and worldly goods to become the spouse of poverty: St. Peter shows Innocent III. in a dream the falling church (St. John Lateran at Rome) sustained by St. Francis: The Confirmation of the Rules[187] of the Order. St. Francis appears in a chariot of fire (121). He descends to be present at the martyrdom of Franciscan brothers at Ceuta, etc. The scene of St. Francis receiving the Stigmata is closely similar (with its six-winged seraph and its two little churches) to the great altar-piece from San Francesco at Pisa, now preserved in the Louvre. Note its arrangement. Next it on the left, St. Francis appearing at Arles while St. Anthony of Padua is preaching, recalls the fresco in Santa Croce. Indeed, all the members of this little series may be very well collated with the frescoes of similar scenes in the Bardi Chapel. (Go also to Santa Trinità for the Ghirlandajos.)

On the end wall, 129, is an altar-piece of the Coronation of the Virgin, with attendant saints. All are named on the frame; so are the painters. Observe the saints and their symbols—especially Santa Felicità, for whose convent it was painted. Notice also the usual group of angels playing musical instruments, who develop later into such beautiful accessories. It may be worth while to note that these early altar-pieces give types for the faces of the apostles and saints which can afterward be em[188]ployed to elucidate works of the Renaissance, especially Last Suppers. Left panel, Spinello: centre, Lorenzo: right, Niccolò.

To the right of the door are two stories from the life of St. Nicholas of Bari. In the upper one, he appears in the sky to resuscitate a dead child, where the double figure, dead and living, is characteristic. For the legends in full you must see Mrs. Jameson.

In 134, the Presentation in the Temple, by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (one of the best of the early School of Siena), note the positions of St. John and the Madonna, St. Simeon and St. Anne, whose names are legibly inscribed on their haloes. Observe also the architecture of the temple, and note that in early pictures churches and other buildings are represented as interiors by the simple device of removing one side, exactly as in a doll’s house.


All the early altar-pieces on this wall deserve attention. Do not omit St. Nicholas of Bari throwing the three purses as a dowry into the window of the poor nobleman with three starving daughters. One is already thrown and being presented: the saint is holding the other two. St. Nicholas was the patron saint of pawn[189]brokers (they “freely lend to all the poor who leave a pledge behind”), hence his three golden balls are the badge of that trade.

Number 137 represents the Annunciation, with saints, among whom St. John of Florence and St. Dominic are conspicuous. All are named on the frame, and should be separately identified. The wall behind the Madonna and angel, the curtain, and the bedroom in the background, are all conventional. Notice the frequent peacocks’ wings given to Gabriel. Observe, in the predella, Pope Gregory the Great, with the dove whispering at his ear as always. I do not particularise in these altar-pieces, because, as a rule, the names of the saints are marked, and all you require is the time to study them. The longer you look, the better will you understand Italian art in general.

The next picture, 139, shows itself doubly to be a Franciscan and a Florentine picture. It has the Medici saint, St. Lawrence, beside the Florentine St. John the Baptist; while on the other side stand St. Francis and St. Stephen, the latter, as often, with the stones of his martyrdom on his head, and in the rich dress of a[190] deacon. The donor was probably a Catherine, because (though it was painted for a Franciscan convent of Santa Chiara, as the inscription states) at the Madonna’s side stand St. Catherine of Siena, the Dominican nun, and St. Catherine of Alexandria, the princess, with her wheel. In the predella, observe the Adoration of the Magi, where attitudes, camels, and other details, lead up in many ways to later treatments.

Number 140 is a characteristic Holy Trinity, with St. Romuald the Abbot and St. Andrew the Apostle. The chief subject of the predella is the Temptation of St. Anthony. In another predella, below it, notice the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and the Marriage of the Virgin, all the elements in which should be closely compared with the frescoes at Santa Croce.

Number 143 is an Annunciation, by Don Lorenzo Monaco, where the floating angel, just alighting on his errand, and the shrinking Madonna, represent an alternative treatment of the subject from that in Neri di Bicci. Look out in future for these floating Gabriels. Note that while no marked division here exists between Gabriel and Our Lady, the two figures[191] are yet isolated in separate compartments of the tabernacle. The saints are named. St. Proculus shows this work to have been probably painted for a citizen of Bologna, of which town he is patron, though it comes here direct from the Badia in Florence.

Number 147 introduces us to a different world. It was usual in mediæval Florence to give a bride a chest to hold her trousseau, and the fronts of such chests were often painted. This example represents a marriage between the Adimari and Ricasoli families, and is interesting from the point of view of costume and fashion. The loggia is that of the Adimari family.

The Neri di Bicci, 148, uninteresting as art, has curious types of St. Mary Magdalen, St. Margaret, St. Agnes, and St. Catherine, each with her symbol. These insipid saints have little but their symbolical significance to recommend them; yet they deserve attention as leading up to later representations.

On the window wall, notice 155, a picture which seems to lead up to or reflect the manner of Botticelli.

Near the door, 164, a Luca Signorelli is not a pleasing example of the great master. The[192] Archangel St. Michael, weighing souls, and Gabriel bearing the lily of the Annunciation, are the best elements. The Child is also well painted, and the faces of St. Ambrose and St. Athanasius below are full of character.

The next room, the Sala Seconda, is chiefly interesting as containing, on an easel in the centre, **Ghirlandajo’s magnificent Adoration of the Shepherds. In its wealth of detail and allusiveness, its classical touches and architecture, its triumphal arch, its sarcophagus, etc., this is a typical Renaissance work. As commonly happens with Ghirlandajo, the shepherds are clearly portraits, and admirable portraits, of contemporary Florentines. Notice the beautiful iris on the right representing the Florentine lily, also the goldfinch, close to the Divine Child, and Joseph’s saddle to the left. The distance represents the Approach of the Magi, and may be well compared with the Gentile da Fabriano. Note how the Oriental character of the head-dress survives. The landscape, though a little hard, is fine and realistic. The contrast between the ruined temple and the rough shed built over it is very graphic. Not a detail of the technique should be left unnoticed. Observe, for example,[193] the exquisite painting of the kneeling shepherd’s woollen cap, and the straws and thatch throughout the picture. The Madonna is characteristic of the Florentine ideal of Ghirlandajo’s period. The ox and ass, on the other hand, are a little unworthy of so great an artist.

On the walls of this room are pictures, mostly of secondary interest, belonging to the age of the High Renaissance. To the right of the door are a series of good heads by Fra Bartolommeo, the best of which is that of St. Dominic, with his finger to his lips, to enforce the Dominican rule of silence.

Above them, a fine Madonna and Child by Mariotto Albertinelli, where the figures of St. Dominic with his lily, St. Nicholas of Bari with his three golden balls, and the ascetic St. Jerome with his cardinal’s hat and lion, will now be familiar. But the finest figure is that with a sword, to the left, representing St. Julian, the patron saint of Rimini. The fly-away little angels and the unhappy canopy foreshadow the decadence.

Better far is Mariotto’s Annunciation, adjacent, where the addition of the heavenly choir above is a novel feature. The shrinking position of the Madonna may well be compared with the[194] earlier specimens, and with the beautiful Andrea del Sarto in the Uffizi.

Beyond, 171 and 173, are two Madonnas by Fra Bartolommeo, which may be taken as typical specimens of his style in fresco. Compare with the heads to the left in order to form your conception of this great but ill-advised painter, who led the way to so much of the decadence.

Between them is 172, also by Fra Bartolommeo: Savonarola in the character of St. Peter Martyr, a forcible but singularly unpleasant portrait.

Above it, 170, Fra Paolino, Madonna and Child with saints, is interesting as showing the grouping that came in with the High Renaissance, and the transformation effected in the character of the symbols. These canopied thrones belong to the age of Fra Bartolommeo. The Magdalen can only be known by her box of ointment. St. Catherine of Siena, to whom the infant Christ extends a hand, seems to be painted just for the sake of her drapery. St. Dominic with his lily becomes an insipid monk, and even the ascetic face of St. Bernardino of Siena almost loses its distinctive beauty. The attitude of St. Anthony of Padua, pointing with his hand in order to call[195] St. Catherine’s attention to what is happening, as though she were likely to overlook it, is in the vilest taste. Altogether, a sad falling off from the purity and spirituality of the three great rooms of Botticelli and Perugino. This picture comes from the convent of Santa Caterina in Florence.

Number 174, the Madonna letting drop the Sacra Cintola to St. Thomas, is a far more pleasing specimen of Fra Paolino. The kneeling Thomas has dignity and beauty, and is not entirely painted for the sake of his feet. St. Francis is a sufficiently commonplace monk, but St. John the Baptist has not wholly lost his earlier beauty. The tomb full of lilies is pleasingly rendered, and the figures of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (or is it St. Rose?) and St. Ursula with her arrow behind have simplicity and dignity. This is of course a Franciscan picture: it comes from the convent of St. Ursula in Florence. The little frieze of saints by Michele Ghirlandajo, beneath it, is worthy of notice. The second of the series is Santa Reparata.

The other pictures in this room can, I think, be sufficiently interpreted by the reader in person.


Number 177 is by Sogliani, the angel Raphael, with Tobias and the fish. As the angel carries the sacred remedy, this was probably a blindness ex voto. To the left is St. Augustine.

The Pietà, above, by Fra Bartolommeo and Fra Paolino, is noticeable for its Dominican saints. You will know them by this time.

A second group of the Madonna letting drop her girdle to St. Thomas, by Sogliani, may be instructively compared with Fra Paolino.

The late Renaissance pictures on the rest of the wall need little comment. The Sala Terza contains works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, mostly as unpleasant as theatrical gesture and false taste can make them.


Number 198, Alessandro Allori’s Annunciation, while preserving many of the traditional features, is yet a noble and valuable monument of absolute vulgarity. The fly-away Gabriel, with coarsely painted lily, the cloud on which he rests in defiance of gravitation, the cherubs behind, the third-rate actress who represents Our Lady, the roses on the floor, and the attitudes of the hands in both the chief characters,[197] are as vile as Allori could make them. But the crowning point of bad taste in this picture is surely the eldest of the boy-angels, just out of school, and apparently sprawling in ambush on a cloud to play some practical joke on an unseen person. Comparison of this hateful Annunciation with the purity and simplicity of Fra Angelico’s at San Marco will give you a measure of the degradation of sacred art under the later Medici.

Number 203, Carlo Dolci’s Eternal Father, may be taken as in another way a splendid specimen of false sentiment and bad colouring.

Number 205, Cigoli’s St. Francis, admirably illustrates the attempt on the part of an artist who does not feel to express feeling.

Most of these pictures deserve some notice because, as foils to the earlier works, they excellently exhibit the chief faults to be avoided in painting. Sit in front of them, and then look through the open door at the great Ghirlandajo, if you wish to measure the distance that separates the fifteenth from the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Cigoli’s Martyrdom of Stephen, however, has rather more merit both in drawing and colouring; and one or two of[198] the other pictures in the room just serve to redeem it from utter nothingness. Such as they are, the reader will now be able to understand them for himself without further description.




Return through the Cupola and the first part of the Corridor to the room on the left, the Sala del Beato Angelico. This room contains numerous smaller works of Fra Angelico and his contemporaries.

Left of the door, 227, is a Fra Angelico, Madonna and Child enthroned, under a niche, with Franciscan and Medici saints on either side. This work is interesting for the transitional stage it shows in the development of these Madonna pictures. The saints are now grouped in a comparatively natural manner, but the arches behind them show reminiscences of the earlier tabernacle and altar-piece arrangement. On the left of the throne, on a raised marble daïs, a step below the level of Our Lady, stand the Medici saints, Cosimo and Damian, in their red deacons’ robes, with their boxes of[200] ointment and palms of martyrdom (note here as always that the most important saints for the purpose of the picture are to the Madonna’s right, and the spectator’s left). On the opposite side, balancing them, and equally raised on the daïs, are St. John the Evangelist and St. Lawrence with his deacon’s robe and palm of martyrdom. Below, on the ground, stand the Dominican St. Peter Martyr, with his wounded head, and the Franciscan St. Francis, with the Stigmata, in the robes of their orders. Observe that the later historical saints stand on a lower level than their legendary predecessors. The face and dress of the Madonna, the stiff draped Giottesque child, the star on Our Lady’s shoulder, and many other accessories deserve close study. This picture is one which marks time in the progress of painting. Compare the arrangement of saints here with the Giottesque altar-pieces just outside, and then with the quite naturalistic arrangements in the three rooms of the great fifteenth century painters.

Left of these works begins a series by Fra Angelico of the Life of Christ,—small panel pictures (from the doors of a press in the Annunziata), some of them of comparatively[201] little artistic merit, but all interesting from the point of view of development. (The first three, as they stand, do not seem to me to be Fra Angelico’s at all.) Notice particularly the scene of the Baptism, for comparison with the Verrocchio in an adjoining room. The position of the Baptist and the small symbolical Jordan are highly typical. Verses from the Vulgate beneath explain the subjects. Above are prophecies from the Old Testament, supposed to foreshadow the events here pictured. In 234, an Annunciation, with its loggia and garden background, is very noteworthy. Here, only a doorway separates the Madonna from the announcing angel. The Adoration of the Magi in the same set may be well compared with Gentile da Fabriano. The Massacre of the Innocents, on the other hand, shows Fra Angelico’s marked inability to deal with dramatic action, and especially with scenes of cruelty. In the Sacred Wheel, in 235, observe the curious figures of the four Evangelists, at the cardinal points of the centre, each with human body, but with the head of his beast as a symbol. The whole of this mystic wheel, explained by its inscriptions, deserves close attention. The Circumcision[202] and the *Flight into Egypt below are entirely conventional. Note the inefficient drawing of the ass. Compare the St. Joseph with that in the upper panel of 236, the Nativity, where the type of this saint continually repeated by Fra Angelico will become apparent. In 237, **Judas Receiving the Money is especially spirited: the dramatic element is rare in Fra Angelico. The Last Supper, close by, is noteworthy as a historical delineation, for comparison with the mystical one on the walls of San Marco. The scenes of the Buffeting and the Flagellation again exhibit Fra Angelico’s limitations. I advise attentive study of all these little works, many of which are of high merit: make careful comparisons with the same subjects in the Giottos and elsewhere.


Number 243, also by Fra Angelico, contains a graphic account of the **history of St. Cosimo and St. Damian, the holy physicians who despised money, and who in the lower left hand compartment are represented as declining the heavy fees proffered by a wealthy woman. (Or rather, St. Cosimo refuses, and St. Damian accepts, because the lady asks him to take it in the name of the Lord.) The other subjects relate the[203] trial of the two saints, with their three younger brethren, and the attempts successively made to drown them, from which death they are saved by angels; to burn them alive, when the flames seize upon their persecutors; to crucify and stone them, when the stones recoil on the heads of the senders and the arrows bend round to strike the assailants; and finally the last successful effort to behead them—a punishment which no saint except St. Denis ever survives. This is a very miraculous story, delineated with perfect faith and naïveté, in a series of exquisite miniatures, far superior in execution to the Life of Christ. They formed a gradino at the Annunziata. Observe the complete mediævalism of the details, untouched as yet by the slightest Renaissance tendency. The Roman official who condemns them is dressed like a Florentine gentleman of the period; there is no archæology.

Above, 241 and 242, are two good portraits of Vallombrosan monks by Perugino, who was largely employed in commissions for that monastery, and who painted for it his magnificent Assumption. The figures are those of the General of the Order, and of the Abbot of the[204] monastery; and they stood originally at the side of the Assumption, looking up at the Virgin—whence their attitudes.

Still higher is a Madonna and Child, by Fra Angelico, exhibiting advance in freedom of treatment over the more Giottesque model in 227. Compare these carefully.

Number 249, etc., other little panels by Fra Angelico, contain a Pietà, Adoration of the Magi, etc., with scenes in the background.

Beyond these, on the left, is a continuation of the Life of Christ. In the Raising of Lazarus, note the curious swathing of the mummy-like figure, which earlier still was represented as an actual mummy. The Entry into Jerusalem contains some excellent characters. The Washing of the Apostles’ feet betrays Fra Angelico’s lack of accurate knowledge in perspective and foreshortening. The Last Supper has points of resemblance with the mystic treatment in San Marco. In Christ before Pilate, notice once more the pure mediævalism of the treatment, as contrasted with such Roman and antiquarian touches as are given to similar scenes by Ghirlandajo and Filippino Lippi. The Jewish faces of the priests are admirably rendered.[205] The Betrayal of Christ has the usual episode of Peter cutting off the ear of Malchus.


In the next group, 253, note the scorpion tabards of the soldiers on the Way to Calvary, and the parting of the raiment. Beneath it, Christ in Limbo delivers Adam and Eve and the holy dead, among whom King David is conspicuous. Observe the red cross of the banner, universal in this subject, the usual demon crushed under the gate, and the others baffled in the left background. The Last Judgment beneath it, is interesting for comparison with the larger tabernacle on the end wall of this room. Observe the attitude of Christ, displaying His wounded hands in mercy, as in most representations of this subject, from the frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa onward. (Compare the fine Fra Bartolommeo and Mariotto Albertinelli in the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. A study of this subject, beginning at Pisa, and culminating in the Sistine Chapel, is most interesting.) Note the Madonna, apostles, and patriarchs, surrounding the Christ, and the sweet little angels below embracing the just, among whom a Dominican figure is conspicuous. The damned, to the left of the Saviour, display[206] Fra Angelico’s usual inability to deal with what is not ecstatic and beautiful.

The last set of the series, containing the Passion, Ascension, etc., is interesting (amongst other things) for its Descent of the Holy Ghost, with the various nations below hearing the apostles speak with tongues, which may be well compared with the fresco in the Spanish Chapel. Not one of these little scenes is without interest from the point of view of comparative treatment with others elsewhere. Go through them carefully, and note the prophetic verses.

On the same wall, 247, the Dominican painter has also represented the School of the great Dominican teacher, St. Thomas Aquinas, with the three discomfited heretics (Averrhoes, Sabellius, Guillaume de St. Amour) at his feet as usual. Compare the Benozzo Gozzoli in the Louvre.

Above this, 246, is a fine Deposition, with a few adoring saints who do not belong to the subject. Amongst them, to the left, is conspicuous St. Dominic. This picture belonged to a religious body which accompanied condemned criminals to the scaffold.

On the end wall, 257, are two stories from[207] the lives of St. Cosimo and St. Damian, by Fra Angelico. They fix the leg of a dead Moor to a sick white man, on whom they have practised amputation. Below, their burial with their three brethren: in the background, a somewhat imaginative camel, denoting foreignness and orientalism.

The dainty little Annunciation by Ghirlandajo, above, should be noticed.

Number 260 is a Simone Bolognese, an extremely rude but interesting picture of the Nativity, where the star, the attitude of the ass, the shepherd hearing the angels, and the very unreal sheep in the foreground should all be noted. The wattles and saddle are characteristic of the subject.

Above it is a charming early Tabernacle, 259, fourteenth century, with the Madonna and Child, which may be well compared both with Giotto and Fra Angelico. On the wings above, an Annunciation, with the Madonna and angel separated as usual: notice this arrangement, which often recurs. Beneath is a Crucifixion; with St. John the Baptist, St. Catherine and other saints. This is one of the most beautiful tabernacles of its period: its fine work should be observed.



Number 266, *Fra Angelico’s celebrated Last Judgment, may be well compared with the Orcagna in Santa Maria. In the centre above is Christ in a mandorla, surrounded by adoring angels whose symbolical colours and various hierarchies you will find explained by Mrs. Jameson. Beneath are the angels of the last trump; right and left of the Saviour, the Madonna and St. John the Baptist; then, the apostles and patriarchs, with their symbols, among whom may be noted also St. Dominic on the extreme left and St. Francis on the extreme right, with other monastic founders, especially of Florentine or neighbouring bodies (Vallombrosans, Camaldolesi). The terrestrial scene has for its centre a vault or cemetery, with open empty tombs from which the dead have risen. (See also at Pisa.) To the left (the Saviour’s right as usual) are the blessed risen, welcomed and embraced by charming little angels, who lead them onward as in a mazy dance to the Heavenly City. The robes and orders of the monks should be observed, as also the various grades of popes, bishops, and other ecclesiastical functionaries. Note that this is essentially a representative assemblage of the[209] Church Triumphant, in which, it must be admitted, the lay element figures but sparingly. To the right, the damned are being hurried away to hell by demons. Among them are not only the great and mighty of the earth,—kings, queens, etc.,—but also false monks who loved money better than their profession, as typified by the bag around the neck of one in the foreground. Every one of these lost souls also is representative. Note the bats’ faces and wings of the demons. To the extreme right is Hell, divided into the usual mediæval regions, and best explained by reference to Dante. (See also the Orcagna at Santa Maria Novella.) The personal devil devouring souls below recalls the figure in the Campo Santo at Pisa. Do not overlook the jaws of death.

Every detail of this interesting picture should be noted and carefully studied. Nothing can be lovelier than the scene of angelic peace on the right; few things uglier than the opposite torments, attributed, as usual, to another hand. The picture comes from the monastery degli Angeli in Florence, whence the large and charming part assigned in it to angels.

Above it, in 265, Madonna and Child with[210] saints, by Fra Angelico, compare the cupola and niches, from the point of view of evolution, with those of the large picture almost opposite. To the left is a group of Franciscan saints, Anthony of Padua, Louis of Toulouse, and Francis (it comes from a Franciscan retreat at Mugello). To the right are the Medici saints, Cosimo and Damian, and St. Peter Martyr. The child is here nude, a rare case with Fra Angelico. Note always this point, and observe its early occurrences.

Close by, 268 and 269, two little panels of the sixteenth century, are interesting for their treatment of the Annunciation, and St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Dominic.

On the left wall, 272, is an interesting St. Elizabeth of Hungary, sheltering under her mantle her votaries. The arrangement of the mantle and the angels who sustain it should be noted as characteristic of similar subjects, common elsewhere.

By the window wall are several early panel pieces, the most interesting of which is 277, with St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, where the seraph, saint, Brother Leo, and attendant buildings, are all characteristic. Compare the[211] Giotto in another room in this building. The St. Paul on the way to Damascus is a less usual subject, interestingly treated. Note that the sword has not been forgotten.

Number 277, another St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, closely resembles the picture in the Louvre of the same subject. Compare all the examples of this theme in the present gallery, noting the position of the seraph-winged Christ, the buildings, etc.

Number 281 is a Fra Angelico, another Madonna and Child, with characteristic angels. In the foreground, with its singular early Romanesque mosaic (which should be carefully noted), are the Medici saints kneeling. To the right are the two great Dominicans, St. Dominic and Peter Martyr, with St. Francis; to the left, St. Lawrence, St. John the Baptist, St. Stephen.

This is a fine altar-piece, though greatly damaged. Note always whether the Christ holds a globe, a goldfinch, or a pomegranate.

In the next window, a series of stories by Granacci are sufficiently described by their labels, but worthy of all attention.

On the easel, 263, is a Filippo Lippi, the An[212]nunciation (curiously divided), and St. John the Baptist of Florence. This is a single shutter, with the other half in 264, where St. Antony balances the Baptist.

In 291, a Trinity of the fifteenth century, notice, in the predella, the arrangement of the arcade in the Annunciation, with the garden in the background; right and left angelic subjects; St. Michael and the Dragon, St. Raphael and Tobias. The delicious naïveté of the last is worthy of attention.


It is impossible to enter in detail into all the works in this small room, with its rich collection of early panel pictures. The visitor should return to them again and again, spelling out their further meaning for himself by the light of the hints here given, or the official catalogue. But the more you make out for yourself, the better. Remember that every figure is identifiable, and that each in every case has then and there its special meaning. Fully to understand these, you should afterward consult either the catalogue, or, still better, the description of the principal pictures in Lafenestre’s “Florence.” Also, I cannot too strongly recommend that you should go from one picture of a subject to[213] another of the same in this collection, observing the chronology of the works, and the evidences which they show of progress in art-evolution. As a single example of what I mean, take the Annunciations in this Gallery, and follow them out carefully. Or again, look at the group of saints on either side of the Saviour in 266. Note here on the left the white starry robe of the Madonna, as Queen of Heaven. Next her, St. Peter with his conventional features, and his two keys of gold and iron. Then, beside him, Moses, distinguishable by his horns of light and by the Hebrew inscription on the tablets he carries. In the opposite group, observe similarly, in the place of honour, St. Paul with his sword, close beside the Baptist, behind whom stands St. Agnes with her lamb, and next to her, King David. Above St. Dominic, once more, to the extreme left of the group, the dove whispering at his ear marks the figure of St. Gregory; close by whom the deacon with the palm of martyrdom and the bleeding head is seen to be St. Stephen. I will not go through the whole of this interesting group, but attentive study of the symbols will enable you to identify every one of them. Do not be[214] satisfied with your study of the picture until you are sure that you have understood all its details. If it was worth Fra Angelico’s while to discriminate them by signs, it is surely worth your while to spend a few seconds each over them. A useful little book for identifying saints, which also gives you an account of the robes of the various monastic orders, is Miss Greene’s “Saints and Their Symbols.” You can get it at any bookseller’s in Florence. You cannot do better than test this picture by the light so thrown upon it.

Again, in 254, the Entombment, notice the positions of the Crown of Thorns and the nails in the foreground, upon which equal stress is laid in the great Descent from the Cross by the same painter, which stands on the easel beside Gentile da Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi. Recollect in this connection the importance given to these relics from the thirteenth century onward, by their purchase from the Emperor of the East by St. Louis of France, who had erected the Sainte Chapelle on purpose to contain them. The legend of their preservation had therefore great prominence in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and early fifteenth cen[215]turies, and it was important that illustrations of the subject should contain some reference to the mode in which these much-revered relics were saved for the adoration of posterity. I offer this hint merely to show the way in which legend and doctrine reacted upon art in the Middle Ages. Look similarly for the nails in the Descent from the Cross by Filippino Lippi and Perugino in the second Botticelli Room, and in Botticelli’s Madonna, 88, in the same room, where an angel holds them as well as the Crown of Thorns. You will find in like manner that the series of the Life of Christ by Fra Angelico in this room has in each case above the picture a prophecy from the Old Testament, and below, a verse supposed to be its fulfilment from the New. The more you observe these facts for yourself, the better will you understand both the details introduced into the pictures themselves and the reason for their selection. Mediæval art embodies a dogmatic theology and a theory of life and practice. It can never be fully comprehended without some attention to these facts which condition it.

Visit the Belle Arti often: it contains, on the whole, the finest pictures in Florence.[216] When you have got beyond these notes, go on with Lafenestre; or else buy the official catalogue, which is in very easy Italian; it gives you always the original place for which the pictures were painted. Do not be satisfied till you understand them all. And compare, as you go, with the frescoes in churches and the works in the Uffizi. The way to comprehend early art is by comparison.




Accademia delle Belle Arti, 9, 141-216.
Early Tuscan works in, 143-151.
Halls of Botticelli, 162-174.
Hall of Fra Angelico, 199-215.
Hall of Perugino, 154-161.
Tuscan Galleries, 195-198.

Agnolo Gaddi (see Gaddi, Agnolo).

Agostino di Duccio, relief of the Madonna, 108.

Alberti, Leon Battista, 4,
façade of Santa Maria, 41-43.

Albertinelli, Mariotto (see Mariotto Albertinelli).

Albizi, Giovanna, portrait of, 52.

Aldobrandini, tomb of, 45.

Alfieri, monument of, 16.

Aliotti of Fiesole, Bishop, tomb of, 45.

Allori, Alessandro, Annunciation, 196-197.

Ambrogio, Giovanni d’ (see Giovanni d’Ambrogio).

Ambrogio, Lorenzetti, Presentation, 188.

Andrea del Castagno, fresco, 16, 92,
paintings of St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalen, 172.

Andrea del Sarto, fragment, 161,
Vallombrosan saints and Virgin, 166,
Vallombrosan saints, 171.

Andrea di Firenze, fresco of the Way to Paradise, 64-67.

Andrea Orcagna (see Orcagna, Andrea).

Andrea Pisano (see Pisano, Andrea).

Andrea Sansovino (see Sansovino, Andrea).

Angelico, Fra, 4, 111-112,
frescoes of St. Dominic, 114-115,
the Great Crucifixion, or Adoration of the Cross, 116-120,
frescoes of the dormitory of St. Mark, 123-134, 137,
Descent from the Cross, 178-180,
[218]smaller works in the Belle Arti, Last Judgment, etc., 199-211.

Angelo (see Michael Angelo Buonarotti).

Antonine, St., Bishop of Florence, bust of, 45,
portrait of, 100,
frescoes of, 114,
figure of, 121.

Antonio Pollaiolo, relief of the Birth of the Baptist, 106.

Antonio Rossellino (see Rossellino, Antonio).

Antonio Sogliani, fresco, Providenza, 120-121,
Raphael and Tobias, 196.

Antonio Veneziano, fresco, Resurrection, 63-64.

Aretino, Spinello (see Spinello Aretino).

Arezzo, Niccolò d’ (see Niccolò d’Arezzo).

Arnolfo di Cambio, design of Santa Croce, 12,
design of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, 75-76,
statue of, 96,
monument of, 103.

Baccio Bandinelli, statue of St. Peter, 101,
reliefs of Saints and Prophets, 104.

Balducci (see Giovanni Balducci).

Banco, Maso di, frescoes, 33.

Banco, Nanni di, relief of the Assumption of the Madonna, 97-98.

Bandinelli (see Baccio Bandinelli).

Bandini, bas-reliefs, 55.

Baptistery (see Cathedral, the old).

Bartolommeo, Fra, 112,
frescoes, portrait of Savonarola, 129,
Madonna, 134,
Madonna Appearing to St. Bernard, 171,
two Madonnas, portrait of Savonarola as St. Peter Martyr, 194,
Pietà, 196.

Battista Lorenzi, bust of Michael Angelo, and figure of Painting on the tomb of Michael Angelo, 15.

Belle Arti (see Accademia delle Belle Arti).

Benedetto da Rovezzano, statue of St. John, 101.

Benedetto, Fra, frescoes of the Crucifixion, 128-129,
illuminated manuscripts, 130-131.

Benozzo Gozzoli, 45,
fresco of the Journey of the Three Kings to Bethlehem, 136-140.

Bernardo Daddi, frescoes of the Trial and Martyrdom of St. Stephen, and Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, 32.

Bernardo Orcagna (see Orcagna, Bernardo).

Bernardo Rossellino (see Rossellino, Bernardo).

Bicci di Lorenzo, Madonna with goldfinch, 147.

Bicci, Neri di (see Neri di Bicci).

Bologna, Giovanni da (see Giovanni da Bologna).

Borgognone, 169.

Botticelli, 7, 112,
Primavera, 162-163,
Coronation of the Virgin, 167,
St. Eloy, 168,
Madonna and Saints, 172,
[219]Enthroned Madonna, 173,
Archangels and Tobias, 173-174.

Bracciolini (see Poggio Bracciolini).

Brunelleschi, Filippo, Cappella de’ Pazzi, 36,
crucifix, 54,
completion of Santa Maria del Fiore, 75,
dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, 77,
design for doors of Baptistery, 85,
statue of, 96,
bust of, 100.

Bruni, Leonardo, tomb of, 17.

Buggiano, bust of Brunelleschi, 100.

Bugiardini, Martyrdom of St. Catherine, 47.

Buonarotti (see Michael Angelo Buonarotti).

Camaino (see Tino da Camaino).

Cambio, Arnolfo di (see Arnolfo di Cambio).

Campanile, 96, 109-110.

Carlo Dolci, Eternal Father, 197.

Castagno (see Andrea del Castagno).

Cigoli, St. Francis, Martyrdom of St. Stephen, 197.

Cathedral, the new, of Santa Maria del Fiore, 74-77, 94-110.
Canons’ Entrance, 95.
Façade, 94.
Tribune of San Zanobi, 97, 99, 101.

Cathedral, the old, or Baptistery, of St. John the Baptist, 5-8, 73-93.
Ghiberti’s bronze doors for, 85-90.

Cimabue, Madonna, 46,
Madonna, 144, 147,
Madonna and angels, 182-183.

Cioli, figure of Sculpture on tomb of Michael Angelo, 15.

Cosimo Rosselli, St. Barbara, 158-159.

Credi, Lorenzo di (see Lorenzo di Credi).

Cronaca, design of façade of Santa Croce, 13,
cornice of Strozzi Palace, 39,
front of court of Strozzi Palace, 40.

Daddi, Bernardo (see Bernardo Daddi).

Dante, 3, 6, 7,
statue of, 12,
cenotaph, 15.

Danti, Vincenzo (see Vincenzo Danti).

Davide Ghirlandajo (see Ghirlandajo, Davide).

De Fabris, façade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, 77,
same, 94-95,
designs for façade, 109.

Della Robbia (see Robbia, della).

Desiderio da Settignano, monument of Carlo Marsuppini, 34,
frieze of the Cappella de’ Pazzi, 36.

Dolci (see Carlo Dolci).

Domenico Ghirlandajo (see Ghirlandajo, Domenico).

Domenico di Michelino, painting of Dante explaining the Divina Commedia, 103.

Donatello, 4,
Annunciation, 16-17,
[220]frieze of the Cappella de’ Pazzi, 36,
statue of St. Mary Magdalen, 92,
figure of John XXIII., on his tomb, 93,
completion of Assumption of the Virgin statuettes, 98,
statue of Poggio Bracciolini, 103,
reliefs of children, decorating singing-lofts, 104-106,
medallions above arcade of Riccardi Palace, 136.

Don Lorenzo Monaco (see Lorenzo Monaco).

Duccio, Agostino di (see Agostino di Duccio).

Duomo (see Cathedral, new, of Santa Maria del Fiore, and Opera del Duomo).

Dupré, Adoration of the Cross, 14,
relief of Savonarola, 129.

Fabriano, Gentile da (see Gentile da Fabriano).

Ferrucci, statue of St. Andrew, 102.

Ficino, Marsilio, monument of, 100.

Fiesole, Mino da (see Mino da Fiesole).

Filippino Lippi (see Lippi, Filippino).

Filippo Lippi (see Lippi, Filippo).

Firenze, Andrea di (see Andrea di Firenze).

Florence, Name, 2, 8.
Origins, 1-9.

Fra Angelico (see Angelico, Fra).

Fra Bartolommeo (see Bartolommeo, Fra).

Fra Benedetto (see Benedetto, Fra).

Fra Filippo Lippi (see Lippi, Filippo).

Francavilla, statues, 135.

Francesco Nori, monument of, 15.

Fra Ristoro (see Ristoro, Fra).

Francesco Rustici, bronze group of the Preaching of John the Baptist, 80-81.

Fra Sisto (see Sisto, Fra).

Francesco Talenti, completion of the Campanile, 111.

Francia, 161.

Fra Paolino (see Paolino, Fra).

Gaddi, Agnolo, frescoes of the lives of St. Nicholas, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Anthony, 17-18,
frescoes of the history of the Holy Cross, 30-32,
Madonna and Child, 183-184,
predella, story of Joachim and Anna, 186.

Gaddi, Gaddo, Coronation of the Virgin, 100.

Gaddi, Taddeo, 17,
frescoes of the life of the Virgin, 18, 25,
fresco of the Entombment, 33,
Last Supper, 36, 54,
fresco of the Way to Paradise, 64-67,
Glory of St. Thomas Aquinas, 68-69,
Descent of the Holy Ghost, 70, 76,
Entombment, 183.

Galileo Galilei, tomb of, 34.

[221]Garbo, Raffaellino del (see Raffaellino del Garbo).

Gentile da Fabriano, 137, 138, 140,
Adoration of the Magi, 175-178.

Ghiberti, Lorenzo, 4,
Descent from the Cross, 34,
bronze doors of the Baptistery, 84-90,
relief of San Zanobi, 101-102.

Ghiberti, Vittorio, 84.

Ghirlandajo, Davide, mosaic, Annunciation, 97.

Ghirlandajo, Domenico, 4, 25, 36,
frescoes of the life of St. John the Baptist, and the history of the Virgin, 50-53,
frescoes of St. Francis and St. Peter Martyr, 54,
Annunciation, 97,
fresco of the Last Supper, 121,
Madonna and Child, 159-160,
Adoration of the Shepherds, 192-193,
Annunciation, 207.

Ghirlandajo, Michele, Marriage of St. Catherine of Siena, 169.

Ghirlandajo, Ridolfo, St. Lucy, 46.

Giottino, frescoes, 33.

Giotto, 4, 17, 20, 21,
Coronation of the Virgin, 22,
frescoes of the lives of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, 27-28,
frescoes of the life of St. Francis, 28-30,
Last Supper, 36,
frescoes of the life of the Virgin, 59-61,
Campanile, 76,
door of the Cathedral, 95,
monument of, 100, 109,
façade of Cathedral, 116,
altar-piece, Madonna and angels, 183,
panels of the life of Christ, 184-185,
life of St. Francis, 186-187.

Giovanni Balducci, Last Supper, 102.

Giovanni d’Ambrogio, door of the Cathedral, 97.

Giovanni da Bologna, Chapel and statue of St. Antonine, 135.

Giovanni da Milano, 17, 19, 20,
frescoes of the life of the Madonna, 24-25, 54.

Giovanni dell’Opera, figure of Architecture on the tomb of Michael Angelo, 15,
statues of St. Philip and St. James, 101,
reliefs of saints and prophets, 104.

Giovanni di Salerno, tomb of, 50.

Giovanni, Lorenzo di (see Lorenzo di Giovanni).

Giovanni Pisano (see Pisano, Giovanni).

Giuliano da Majano (see Majano, Giuliano da).

Gozzoli (see Benozzo Gozzoli).

Granacci, Assumption of the Virgin, 169-170.

Green Frescoes, 61.

Hawkwood, Sir John, monument of, 100.

Jacopo della Quercia, 85.

Jacopo Sansovino (see Sansovino, Jacopo).

Joseph, Patriarch of Constantinople, tomb of, 45,
[222]portrait of, 137-138.

Lanzi, monument of, 16.

Leonardo Bruni, tomb of, 17.

Leonardo da Vinci, 4,
design of bronze group of the Preaching of John the Baptist, 81.

Lippi, Filippino, frescoes of the lives of St. John the Evangelist and St. Philip, 47-49,
design for window of Strozzi Chapel, 50, 92,
Descent from the Cross, 170-171.

Lippi, Filippo, 4, 139,
St. Jerome in the desert, 157,
Coronation of the Virgin, 160,
Nativity, 165,
Virgin adoring the Child, 165-166.

Lorenzetti (see Ambrogio Lorenzetti).

Lorenzi, Battista (see Battista Lorenzi).

Lorenzo, Bicci di (see Bicci di Lorenzo).

Lorenzo di Credi, Nativity, 171-172.

Lorenzo di Giovanni, Canons’ Entrance to the Cathedral, 96.

Lorenzo Ghiberti (see Ghiberti, Lorenzo).

Lorenzo Monaco, figures of saints, 180,
Annunciation, 190-191.

Luca della Robbia (see Robbia, Luca della).

Luca Signorelli, Madonna embracing the Cross, 160, 191-192.

Macchiavelli, monument of, 16.

Mainardi, Ascension of the Madonna, 21.

Majano, Giuliano da, San Zanobi, 108.

Majano, Benedetto da, pulpit, 15-16, 39,
tomb of Filippo Strozzi, 49,
monument of Giotto, 100.

Mariotto Albertinelli, Trinity, 161, 163,
Annunciation, 193-194.

Marsuppini, Carlo, monument of, 34.

Martini, Simone (see Simone Martini).

Masaccio, 28,
Trinity, 45,
Madonna and Child, with St. Anne, 168.

Maso di Banco (see Banco, Maso di).

Matas, N., modification of Cronaca’s design for façade of Santa Croce, 13.

Medici, Cosimo Pater Patriæ, 135.

Medici, Lorenzo de’, palace of, 136.

Medici Palace, 135-140.

Medici, Piero de’, shrine, 136.

Michael Angelo Buonarotti, 4,
tomb of, 15,
David and collection of casts of all plastic work, 151-153.

Michele Ghirlandajo (see Ghirlandajo, Michele).

Michelino, Domenico di (see Domenico di Michelino).

Michelozzo, Cappella Medici, 22,
figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity on the tomb of John XXIII., 106,
[223]statue of John the Baptist, 106,
Monastery of San Marco, 111,
loggia of same, 114,
Medici or Riccardi Palace, 135.

Milano, Giovanni da (see Giovanni da Milano).

Mino da Fiesole, ciborium, 22.

Monaco, Lorenzo (see Lorenzo Monaco).

Morandi, portrait of St. Antonine, 100.

Morghen, Raphael, monument of, 34.

Nanni di Banco see (Banco, Nanni di).

Neri di Bicci, St. Francis, 144,
St. Appollonia, 144-145,
Annunciation, 145, 149, 191.

Niccolò d’Arezzo, door of the Cathedral, 98,
figure of an angel in the Cathedral, 108.

Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, fresco of the Passion, 24.

Niccolò Manucci di Tolentino, monument of, 100.

Niccolò Pisano (see Pisano, Niccolò).

Nino Pisano (see Pisano, Nino).

Nori, Francesco, monument of, 15.

Opera del Duomo, 103-109.

Opera, Giovanni dell’ (see Giovanni dell’Opera).

Orcagna, Andrea, 47, 50,
Last Judgment, 55-56,
Paradise, 56,
altar-piece, Christ giving the keys to St. Peter and book to St. Thomas Aquinas, 56-57, 97-98,
San Zanobi, 103, 110.

Orcagna, Bernardo, Inferno, 56.

Pacchiarotto, Visitation, 163-165.

Paolino, Fra, Madonna and Child, 194-195,
Madonna and St. Thomas, 195,
Pietà, 196.

Paolo Uccello, Sacrifice of Noah and the Deluge, in the Green Cloister, 62.

Perugino, Assumption of the Virgin, 154-156,
Descent from the Cross, 156,
The Agony in the Garden, 156-157,
Crucifixion, 166,
Completion of Filippino Lippi’s Descent from the Cross, 170-171,
portraits, 203-204.

Pesellino, Martyrdom of St. Cosimo and St. Damian, 169.

Pico della Mirandola, tomb of, 135.

Piero di Giovanni Tedesco, door of the Cathedral, 98.

Pietro Gerini, Niccolò di (see Niccolò di Pietro Gerini).

Pisano, Andrea, bronze doors of the Baptistery, 81-84, 86, 87, 107,
completion of the Campanile, 109.

Pisano, Giovanni, 75,
Madonna, 104.

Pisano, Niccolò, 16, 75-76, 84.

Pisano, Nino, Madonna and Child, 45.

[224]Poccetti, fresco, St. Antonine, 115.

Poggio Bracciolini, statue of, 103.

Poliziano, tomb of, 135.

Pollaiolo (see Antonio Pollaiolo).

Ponte alla Carraja, 6.

Ponte Vecchio, 6.

Pontormo, portrait of Cosimo de’ Medici, 133.

Quercia, Jacopo della (see Jacopo della Quercia).

Raffaellino del Garbo, Resurrection, 172.

Raphael, 28.

Riccardi Palace, 113-114, 135-140.

Ristoro, Fra, 39

Robbia, della, 4, 17,
terra-cotta statues of St. Francis and St. Bernardino, 18,
terra-cotta of the Coronation of the Virgin, attributed to Luca della Robbia, 22,
Madonna and Child, 22,
Pietà, 23,
relief of the Meeting of St. Dominic and St. Francis, 42,
lavatory in marble and terra-cotta, 58,
reliefs attributed to Luca, 101
(see also Robbia, Luca della, Robbia, Giovanni della).

Robbia, Giovanni della, the Baptist in the Desert, 108.

Robbia, Luca della, terra-cotta of the Coronation of the Virgin, 22,
terra-cottas in the Cappella de’ Pazzi, 36,
reliefs, 101,
reliefs of children for singing-lofts, 104-106,
group from previous series, 107.

Rosselli, Cosimo (see Cosimo Rosselli).

Rossellino, Antonio, Madonna and Child, 15.

Rossellino, Bernardo, tomb of Leonardo Bruni, 17,
tomb of the Beata Villana, 47.

Rossi, statue of St. Thomas, 102.

Rovezzano (see Benedetto da Rovezzano).

Rucellai Palace, 41.

Salerno, Giovanni di, tomb of, 50.

San Marco, monastery of, 111-134,
church of, 134-135.

San Miniato, church of, 73.

San Paolo, hospital of, 42.

Sansovino, Andrea, marble group of the Baptism of Christ, 81.

Sansovino, Jacopo, statue of St. James the Greater, 102.

Santa Croce, 6, 7, 10-37, 39, 42, 43, 44.
Bonaparte Chapel, 27.
Medici Chapel, 22.
Pazzi Chapel, 27.
Peruzzi Chapel, 36.
Rinuccini Chapel, 24.
Sacristy, 24.

Santa Maria Novella, 6, 7, 10, 38-72.
Choir Chapels, 47.
Gaddi Chapel, 55.
Green Cloister, 61-62.
Mediæval exterior, 42.
[225]Renaissance façade, 42-44.
Rucellai Chapel, 46.
Sepolcreto, 59-61.
Spanish Chapel, 59, 62-72.
Strozzi Chapel, 47-50.
Strozzi Chapel (second), 55.

Sarrocchi, relief of the Discovery of the True Cross, 13,
rose window of the Cathedral, 94.

Sarto (see Andrea del Sarto).

Savonarola, 112, 129, 194.

Settignano, Desiderio da (see Desiderio da Settignano).

Siena, Ugolino da (see Ugolino da Siena).

Signorelli, Luca (see Luca Signorelli).

Signoria, 12.

Simone Martini, fresco of the Way to Paradise, 64-67.

Sisto, Fra, design of Santa Maria Novella, 39.

Sogliani (see Antonio Sogliani).

Spinello Aretino, 27.

Strozzi, Alessandro dei, tomb of, 55.

Strozzi Chapel (see under Santa Maria Novella).

Strozzi, Filippo, tomb of, 49.

Strozzi Palace, 39-40.

Taddeo Gaddi (see Gaddi, Taddeo).

Tino da Camaino, 46.

Tolentino (see Niccolò Manucci di Tolentino).

Tornabuoni, Ludovica, portrait of, 52.

Tornabuoni, Giovanni and his wife, portraits of, 53.

Uccello (see Paolo Uccello).

Ugolino da Siena, Coronation of the Virgin, 149.

Veneziano (see Antonio Veneziano).

Verrocchio, 4,
Death of the Baptist, 106,
Baptism of Christ, 167-168.

Vincenzo Danti, bronze group of the Beheading of John the Baptist, 81.

Vinci, Leonardo da (see Leonardo da Vinci).

Vittorio Ghiberti (see Ghiberti, Vittorio).

Zucchi, relief of the appearance of the Cross to Constantine, 14.


Transcriber’s Notes:

added Index entry for: Ristoro, Fra (absent)

amended spelling to read ‘Raffaellino del Garbo’ (standardised)

year ranges converted to full: i.e. 1495-97 becomes 1495-1497

hyphenation has been standardised

[The end of Florence Vol 1 of 2 by Grant Allen]