Commentarii


Commentarii
(c. 1447-1448)
   The Commentarii, written by Lorenzo Ghiberti, is the first Renaissance text to provide the autobiography of an artist and a survey of Florentine art. It also offers discussion on the works from antiquity, the Sienese masters of the 14th century, and optics. In it, the author laments the destruction of ancient statuary for fear of idolatry, praises the Byzantine revival of art (which he qualifies as crude), and credits the rise of painting in all its glory to Giotto. His discussion continues with Giotto's followers and other masters working in Florence and Siena. It culminates with Ghiberti's account of his own activities, demonstrating his conscious desire to place himself within an artistic tradition. Ghiberti calls himself a student of nature who applies what he observes to his own art and praises his own achievements, particularly his victory in the competition for the east doors (1403-1424) of the Baptistery of Florence. His text is important in that it provides a wealth of information on the artists he discusses and their works, some of which no longer exist. It also enhances today's understanding of Renaissance attitudes, including the celebration of individual achievement and the gauging of good art by how well it emulates the work of the ancients.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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