The Early Renaissance





Domenico Ghirlandaio

(b Florence, 1448–9; d Florence, Jan 1494).
Painter, mosaicist and possibly goldsmith. He was head of one of the most active workshops in late 15th-century Florence. He developed a style of religious narrative that blended the contemporary with the historical in a way that updated the basic tenets of early Renaissance art. Domenico’s documented material situation—prosperous, land-owning—conflicts with Vasari’s description of him as unconcerned with wealth and business, and he emerges as an enterprising, versatile craftsman, the artisan and bourgeois nature of his life making him perfectly suited to satisfying the tastes and aspirations of his patrons. He was called to Rome in 1481 to work in the Sistine Chapel, and throughout the 1480s he received prestigious fresco commissions, culminating in 1485 with that to decorate the Tornabuoni Chapel in S Maria Novella, Florence. Many panel paintings, either autograph or workshop productions, were also produced at this time. He received no further fresco commissions after completing the work in S Maria Novella in 1490, but several projects for mosaic decoration date from this period.


An Old Man and His Grandson

c. 1490
Musee du Louvre, Paris



Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni

Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid


Madonna and Child Enthroned between Angels and Saints

c. 1486
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Adoration of the Magi

Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


c. 1491
Musee du Louvre, Paris

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