Artibus et Historiae no. 8 (IV)

1983, ISSN 0391-9064

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RUSSELL PANCZENKO - The Humanism of Gentile da Fabriano

When Gentile da Fabriano arrived in Florence in late 1419, he was commissioned by Palla Strozzi to paint the well-known Adoration of the Magi of the Uffizi. The panel which was placed in the family chapel in Sta. Trinita, according to the author, reflects Palla Strozzi's specific humanistic interests and his aesthetic predilection for the art of Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Palla, who in 1403 was a member of the supervisory committee for Lorenzo Ghiberti's first Baptistry door, showed a continuing interest in the sculptor's work. In 1416, on the death of his father, Onofrio Strozzi, he turned to Ghiberti for the redecoration of the family chapel. The choice first of Lorenzo Monaco, (whose stylistic affinities to the early work of Ghiberti are well documented), and then of Gentile da Fabriano to paint the alterpiece for the chapel reflects a conscious consistency of taste. Gentile da Fabriano's Adoration of the Magi, shows a marked dependence on Ghiberti's panels from which Gentile derived both individual motifs and compositional modes.

In keeping with Ghiberti's return to antique sources for inspiration after 1416, derivations from classical sculpture also play a prominent role in Gentile's Adoration. Furthermore, the use of, or allusion to classical prototypes in Gentile's Adoration is entirely consistent with, if not actually a requirement of, the Palla Strozzi's very marked and specifically Greek humanistic interests.

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