At Padua the chapel of S. Felice in S. Antonio was painted by Altichieri da Zevio and Jacopo d'Avanzo in 1376, and the chapel of S. George was decorated by the same artists in the next year. They are well painted, with considerable beauty in the figures and strength of colour, and a suggestion of aerial perspective appears, which gives a curiously modern feeling to the compositions. At S. Anastasia, Verona, are other paintings of the fourteenth century, some of which are ascribed with some probability to Altichieri.
With the beginning of the fifteenth century a new spirit began to Bpread over painting. The individual succeeded to the abstract type, and clearness of expression was sought above everything. The study of nature was pursued with enthusiasm, each approach to perfect success in the representation of the human form was regarded as a triumph, and the craftsman began to neglect the total decorative effect of his work in favour of the more complete realisation of the details of which it was composed., Fresco was so much practised by the Tuscans, and their works in this manner so much surpass those of other schools, that it may almost be called their peculiar property. Masaccio's name may be placed at the head of the revolution, though his master Masolino (1383-1440) showed almost as great a feeling for nature in his frescoes at Castiglione d'Olona near Varese. His best known works are in the Brancacci chapel of the Carmine at Florence, and from them Raffaelle did not disdain to borrow figures; but at S. Clemente in Borne there is a chapel with scenes from the life of S. Catherine, believed to be an early work of his, but by some ascribed to his master Masolino. He died early, at the age of twenty-seven, in 1428. The last exponent of Giotto's technique was the accomplished Dominican painter Fra Angelico (1387-1455). He began his work at S. Marco, Florence, after 1436, and worked there for ten years. In 1447 he was at Orvieto, where he began the vault of the Cappella Nuova, from which he was summoned to Borne to paint the chapel of S. Nicholas in the Vatican, which occupied him between 1450 and his death. He had the rare good fortune to go on improving to the very end of his life, and this chapel is his finest and most mature work. His pupil Benozzo Gozzoli carried his beautiful and detailed technique even farther, and became one of the most accomplished painters of the Renaissance. He was born in 1420 and died after 1497, filling his long life with the production of the most charming wall-paintings, which, if he had had what is often called " soul," would have placed him very near the summit of the Palace of Art. Subject was of little importance to him; he rarely endeavoured to get at the heart of it, but contented himself with inventing all kinds of ingenious and beautiful surroundings, which make his pictures most interesting from the multiplicity of details of costume and incident of the period in which he lived He helped Fra Angelico in the ceiling at Orvieto, from 1449 to 1452 or later was painting in the Franciscan church at Montefalco, painted the chapel in the Palazzo Riccardi for Lorenzo de Medici between 1457 and 1463, was at San Gemignano between 1463 and 1467, where he painted a series of subjects from the life of S. Augustine, and from 1469 to 1485 worked in the Gampo Santo at Pisa.
Another artist of very definite personality was Fra Filippo lippi (1406-1469). His best known wall-paintings are the frescoes in the cathedral at Prato, painted in 1456, and the apse of the cathedral of Spoleto of ten years later, where he died, poisoned by the relations of Lucrezia Buti, the nun whom he had persuaded to leave her convent, as report goes. Sandro Botticelli (1447-1510) was his pupil, and carried the representation of inspired ugliness to its height, occasionally retaining the inspiration and letting the ugliness go. His most celebrated frescoes are the fine subjects in the Sistine chapel in the Vatican, subjects from Old and New Testament history and figures of popes, painted between 1480 and 1483.; but in the church of Ognissanti in Florence is a very remarkable small fresco of S. Augustine. Filippino Iippi, who finished the frescoes in the Brancacci chapel left unfinished by Masaccio, was more a painter of easel pictures than of frescoes.
Painting by Cimabne on the vault of the Upper Church of S. Francesco, Assisi.
The most celebrated painter of the school was Domenico Ghirlandajo (1449-1494), whose fresco of S. Jerome forms pendant to Botticelli's S. Augustine in Ognissanti, Florence, a marvellous piece of work in which all the details of the writing materials and surroundings are expressed with the precision of a highly finished water-colour painting. This absolute mastery over the process and the material is also shown in his more important works, of which the series in S. Trinity, Florence, and the fine series in S. Maria Novella, finished in 1490, may be cited as examples. He also painted at S. Gemignano and in the Sistine chapel, where he was working between 1483 and 1485. His life was almost overfull of work, and he may stand as an example of the capable craftsman who knew his art down to the minutest detail, but whose compositions are not often informed with the magic spirit which gives life to the dead paint. Another Florentine painter of this period, who painted in the Sistine chapel, was Cosimo Bosselli.
Piero dei Franceschi (1420-1492) is another of the commanding figures of the time. He was a citizen of Borgo San Sepolcro, where the bouse of his family still exists. His earliest fresco extant is the portrait of Sigismond Malatesta kneeling before S. Sigismond his patron saint, in the church of S. Francesco at Rimini, which although a good deal repainted retains enough of the original design to show his feeling for style and close study of nature. His most important work is the series in S. Francesco at Arezzo, describing the legend of the Holy Cross, where great technical skill is displayed and fine drawing of the figure, and in his native town is an admirable Resurrection, preserved in the Palazzo del Comune. Luca Signorelli (1441-1523) was his pupil and inherited his taste for and skill in drawing the figure. His earliest frescoes are at Loreto, he painted in the Sistine chapel in 1482 one of the sections of the history of Moses, and at Monte Oliveto Maggiore, where the first eight of the subjects from the life of S. Benedict in the monastery court are from his hand; but his greatest triumph is the Cappella Nuova, in the cathedral at Orvieto, painted between 1499 and 1505, representing scenes from the Apocalypse. These foreshadowed the greater successes of Michel Angelo in the Sistine chapel.