By E. F. Van Der Grinten (auth.)
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Extra info for Elements of Art Historiography in Medieval Texts
A chronicle of Fountains Abbey, written shortly after 35 1250, summarizes half a century of building history as the work of three successive abbots called Johannes between 1200 and 1247. The first (died in 1209) started the work, the second made strong efforts to continue the work and the third finished the work which was then well-advanced. (AI 62) In a commentary on Dante's Divina Commedia, written around 1350 by Benvenuto da Imola, the author touches upon Giotto's work. He apparently shares Dante's opinion that Giotto was the best painter (tenet campum) , balancing this opinion however, by adding the words "so far" (adhue) because no painter better than Giotto has yet come and by pointing out that he has heard some experts maintain that Giotto made some heavy mistakes in his paintings.
A223) In his Praise of Padua (ab. 1440) Micchele Savonarola describes the works done by Giotto whom he ranks highest of all because he was the first to paint admirable representations of modern figures (figuras modernas) after the old (antiquus) mosaics. (A224) 55 SEEING AND DESCRIBING WORKS OF ART In many cases it is difficult to determine whether the mention made and description given of works of art in medieval texts are based on observations by the author himself or on communications and descriptions from contemporaries or older authors.
79 he refers to the painter Apelles, during the 112th olympiad as the painter who ought to be ranked above all painters from the past and future. (AI 50) Being an architect, Vitruvius speaks exclusively of architecture in his books and he naturally tends to judge history by its technical development. In his preface to Book II he says that he wants to elaborate on the ways of building, where they started and how they gave rise to new inventions. 2-3 he remarks that by seeing dwellings of other nations and thus acquiring new ideas people started building better kinds of houses in the course of time.