The art teachings and traditions of the past seemed deeper rooted at Sienna than at Florence. Nor was there so much attempt to shake them off as at Florence. Giotto broke the immobility of the Byzantine model by showing the draped figure in action. So also did the Siennese to some extent, but they cared more for the expression of the spiritual than the beauty of the natural. The Florentines were robust, resolute, even a little coarse at times ; the Siennese were more refined and sentimental. Their fancy ran to sweetness of face rather than to bodily vigor. Again,
their art was more ornate, richer in costume, color, and tail than Florentine art ; but it was also more finical and narrow in scope.
There was little advance upon Byzantinism in the work of Guido da Sienna (fl. 1275). Even Duccio (126o ?—?), the real founder of the Siennese school, retained Byzantine methods and adopted the school subjects, but he perfected details of form, such as the hands and feet, and while retaining the long Byzantine face, gave it a melancholy tenderness of expression. He possessed no dramatic force, but had a refined workmanship for his time—a workmanship perhaps better, all told, than that of his Florentine contemporary, Cimabue. Simone di Martino (1283 ?-1344 ?) changed the type somewhat by rounding the form. His drawing was not always correct, but in color he was good and in detail exact and minute. He probably profited somewhat by the example of Giotto.
The Siennese who came the nearest to Giotto's excellence were the brothers Ambrogio (fl. 1342) and Pietro (fl. 1350) Lorenzetti. There is little known about them except that they worked together in a similar manner. The most of their work has perished, but what remains shows an intellectual grasp equal to any of the age. The Sienna frescos by Ambrogio Lorenzetti are strong in facial character, and some of the figures, like that of the white-robed Peace, are beautiful in their flow of line. Lippo Memmi
(?-1356), Bartolo di Fredi (1330-410), and Taddeo di Bartolo (1362-1422), were other painters of the school. The late
men rather carried detail to excess, and the school grew conventional instead of advancing.
TRANSITION PAINTERS: Several painters, Stamina 03541413), Gentile da Fabriano (1360?–I440 ?), Fra Angelico (1387-11455), have been put down in art history as the makers of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance painting. They hardly deserve the title. There was no transition. The development went on, and these painters, coming late in the fourteenth century and living into the fifteenth, simply showed the changing style, the advance in the study of nature and the technic of art. Stamina's work gave strong evidence of the study of form, but it was no such work as Masaccio's. There is always a little of the past in the present, and these painters showed traces of Byzantinism in details of the face and figure, in coloring, and in gold embossing.
Gentile had all that nicety of finish and richness of detail and color characteristic of the Siennese. Being closer to the Renaissance than his predecessors he was more of a nature student. He was the first man to show the effect of sunlight in landscape, the first one to put a gold sun in the sky. He never, however, outgrew Gothic methods and really belongs in the fourteenth century. This is true of Fra Angelico. Though he lived far into the Early Renaissance he did not change his style and manner of work in conformity with the work of others about him. He was the last inheritor of the Giottesque traditions. Religious sentiment was the strong feature of his art. He was behind Giotto and Lorenzetti in power and in imagination, and behind Orcagna as a painter. He knew little of light, shade, perspective, and color, and in characterization was feeble, except in some late work.
One face or type answered him for all classes of people—a sweet, fair face, full of divine tenderness. His art had enough nature in it to express his meanings, but little more. 'He was pre-eminently a devout painter, and really the last of the great religionists in painting.
The other regions of Italy had not at this time developed schools of painting of sufficient consequence to mention.