Art – The New Paganism And The Old Faith

FILIPPO LIPPI died in 1469. There was a human generation left in this century which was still to be Florentine. After that, the little city no longer houses the art which she has produced. This generation belongs to two painters, the very antipodes in character, but each significant of the tendencies and limitations of the time — Botticelli and Ghirlandajo. Botticelli is the pagan poet of the Renaissance. The generation in which he was active marked the triumph of humanism. That philosophy, as its ambitious name suggests, aimed to be the résumé of human experience, not of Christian experience nor of Italian experience, nor of any other territory or period. All that was good in paganism, its philosophy, its religion and its art, as likewise in Christianity and all other ages, lands and faiths, was to be united in this great synthesis. Of course local and Christian experiences were infinitely nearer to hand. They saturated the common consciousness. Inevitably, therefore, the great task was to bring in those that were remoter in time and place, to fashion new sympathies, break down old prejudices, and make way for the larger view. Just as inevitably this task led the humanist to emphasize these alien and remoter elements, more or less to the disparagement of the local, against whose intolerance he was continually compelled to fight. And just as inevitably, the ambitious program of thought and morals was one to which life could not adjust itself. The sublimity of the pagan philosophy was no safe-guard against the moral laxity which inevitably resulted from the shattering of local prejudices, often the safeguards and ministers of righteousness. Humanism thus wears two characters as we contemplate the history of this period — a theoretical character which is one of magnificent but rather incoherent eclecticism, and a practical character which is one of more than pagan laxity. In the words of George Eliot’s superb characterization, It was an age of pedantic, impossible ethics, uttered by rote, and of crude passions acted out with childish impulsiveness.” Humanism in this age, theoretical and practical, had for the moment won the intelligent classes in Italy and even captured the Vatican which it was to hold for a century. It expressed itself perhaps at its best in the splendid court of the Medici. There it came nearest to ripening into an effective system of guidance for conduct, and though the lives of even its best representatives were seldom above reproach, we may gaze with some-thing of wistfulness at that marvelous development of taste which at once filled life with poetry and came so near serving as an effective substitute for the irksome thralls of conscience.

It was in this headquarters of Renaissance Humanism that we find Botticelli at his best, a tender and sensitive spirit. Too refined by nature to be attracted by the grossness which in his time was never far to seek, he was drawn as to a magnet by the splendid refinement and subtle taste of the Medicean court. In his work, the love of the classical and the sympathy for the Christian find more complete reconciliation than in the work of any other Italian. Both themes were in vogue in this truly tolerant and appreciative court of Lorenzo. Both themes were ardently grasped by the fine sensibility of the artist poet. Added to this larger taste is a trait that is never far to seek, whose value in art is more dubious, — a fondness for allegory and for esoteric symbolism, often completely unfathomable and subject to the most various interpretation. In this we see a point of contact with the great Savonarola who was to loom so large upon his later horizon. No exegesis of the great preacher was too far fetched to appeal to the weird imagination of Botticelli.

Botticelli’s art has been the subject of striking differences of opinion. In his own day he seems to have been but moderately famous, being celebrated rather as a clever draughtsman than as an artist otherwise great. In our day he has strangely risen to favor, often to the irritation of the studio pedagogue, who sees in his work the incarnation of artist’s license. Thé judgment of these critics is strikingly at variance with alleged Florentine contemporary opinion, for the modern painter is certain above all things that Botticelli could not draw. His works give support to both opinions, according to the example chosen.

Perhaps the first accredited work of Botticelli which we possess is Judith who, with her servant, is bearing the head of Holofernes. It has some striking characteristics, but is of doubtful excellence. Judith poses quite unmistakably for picture purposes. She has neither the grim determination necessary to account for her heroic act, nor yet an attitude which would permit of the rapid motion which her draperies and the theme suggest. Other discrepancies might be noted, but the real significance of the picture is the novel manner in which the draperies are made to do duty for manifold suggestion. These draperies become the distinguishing external mark of Botticelli’s art. They are never still. If his figures move, these draperies that flutter to the slightest imaginable wind, translate their motion and emphasize it to our imagination. Even if the figure stands still, the draperies seem to prophesy the motion which is soon to follow, or recall the motion which has ceased but a moment before. Mobile when not moving, these draperies make his figures instinct with a curious mercurial life. They are artificial but expressive, the despair and the pitfall of his contemporaries who tried to imitate them, as did even Fra Lippo, his teacher, and the stately Ghirlandajo, whose prosaic dignity thus garbed is simply grotesque. But these draperies are only the key to a larger application of the same spirit. It is the spirit of rather wanton poetic license, but always under the guidance of a dreamy, poetic fancy. This is best revealed in the remarkable pictures which were painted for the Medici and which are widely and popularly known in this age of revived interest in Botticelli. Their popularity is a doubtful fad. It is more than questionable whether many of their admirers see in ‘them more than an enigmatical strangeness, a riddle to be guessed, an opportunity for posing and affectation of fondness. But beyond question they have succeeded in fascinating great numbers who are totally unable to analyze their charm. It is against these pictures that the criticism of the modern painter is oftenest directed. Take, for instance, the three graces in the Allegory of Spring (B r6$). How impossible their figures ! How unstable their attitudes ! How unthinkable their draperies ! It is the despair of the studio disciplinarian to find his students hankering after Botticelli. He sets at naught all the rules which the studio inculcates.

The prosaic interpreter of themes is equally at a loss to know what to make out of such a picture. Who are these three people that stand meaningless as well as impossible? The Three Graces by popular consent, but only because they are three, and no other trinity is thinkable. Who is this figure in the center ; this much beflowered figure to the right ; this filmy garmented fleeing woman pursued by the satyr from behind? Sorry attempts are made to identify these various figures. In the center is Venus, we are told ; the Three Graces to the left. The figure with the flowers in her lap and on her garments is obviously Flora. The pursued female is the spring-time which is overtaken by the untimely returning winter. All such explanations are worse than useless.

That Botticelli had unfathomable, esoteric suggestions back of his picture is probable enough. That they are the essence of his picture is certainly not true. Can we not for a moment slip the leash both of studio rule and literary label, and find a meaning in Botticelli’s strange art ? First of all, let us see whether Botticelli’s drawing is helpless or wanton. Could he or could he not draw correctly ? Let us turn for a moment to the Visit of the Magi (B 175), a picture which has in its extremest form the vice already referred to, of irrelevant portrait, but in a form so extreme that it almost ceases to be a vice. Nobody takes the theme in this case with the slightest seriousness. The Holy Family are the merest accident in the background. Everybody knows that the kneeling king is Cosimo de’ Medici, that the other members of the same group are members of this same house, that off to the right are the magnificent followers, the strong men whom their penetration chose and placed in strategic positions. It is a group portrait, that is all, but in this case that is much, for it is beyond question the finest group portrait in the world, in the significance of the characters, the ease and naturalness of their postures, the absence of consciousness, the perfect analysis both of character and of status as expressed in bearing and in feature. In all these particulars this group has no superior, if indeed it has an equal in the art of the world. And notice how perfectly these figures accommodate themselves to the needs of the picture. No one gets in any-one’s way, yet there is no lining up, no straining of position or attitude to prevent interference, as in Fra Lippo’s Burial of St. Stephen already referred to. All is spontaneous, natural, easy. A moment’s glance at this picture, which will repay the profoundest study, convinces us that Botticelli was absolute master of the draughtsman’s art. When he chose to draw actualities he could do so easily, unerringly. More than that, Botticelli had a power, perhaps unrivaled in the history of Florentine art, of lifting out the great traits of character into prominence and delineating them with a few simple strokes uncomplicated by meaningless details. Compare for a moment a group of heads from his great fresco in the Sistine Ceiling (B 172), with a like group of faces from Ghirlandajo’s work in Santa Maria Novella. Botticelli’s work is simple ; the features are the fewest possible ; no unnecessary lines complicate the face. Yet these heads epitomize in an unparalleled degree the characters of the men whom they represent. Take the first on the left. Strong, coarse-grained, alert, he turns his head to one side in a manner instinct with energy. Rude and coarse he may be, but not ungenerous. How easily we can find a place where that man would fit ! How positive we are that we know his essential characteristics ! Take the second, the youth in the background. Delicate and dreamy-eyed, his gaze turned toward heaven, unmindful, it may be, of the ditch that lies in his path, he is the essence of poetry, that unpractical dweller in dreamland to whom the world owes so much. These two circles of character scarce touch each other at a single point of their circumference. The third is different. No poet he; coarse like the first, logy and selfish, it may be. Not to him, as to the first, should we turn for the quick impulse of generosity in misfortune; still less should we share with him the heavenly vision of our youth. Turn to the next, and again all changes. A fine face, suggestive of insight and of poise, soberness that is remotely suggestive of pathos, and the certain guarantee of interpretive sympathy. Most attractive of the group, this face, this admirable portrait, which we are glad to identify as the portrait of Sandro Botticelli. One more remains, reminiscent of the others, yet so different from them all. Notice the head thrown back, the chest thrown out, the face, aristocratic and intellectual, but cold and unsympathetic. Here is the representative of that aristocracy of privilege and power which deepens the rift betwixt itself and humanity.

These men were real men of Botticelli’s time. These men had many-sided characters in which lesser traits often disguised their true character. They had their contrasted moments and conflicting impulses. But Botticelli, with a magician’s hand, strips away the obscuring littleness, and outlines with a few bold strokes the horoscope of their character. No, Botticelli was no clumsy draughtsman. We have but to turn to such works as these to see in him a master of his craft. Why then these confessedly unnatural figures in the Allegory of Spring or the Birth of Venus ? Why this poetry so weird that it jars against the commoner sense?

First of all, it must be remembered that painting, with all its resources at this time, was self-limited in its means. The Italian artists represented, and would represent, only the human figure. Landscape scarce finds the slightest recognition in Florentine art. In Venetian art it was but a decorative background. Suggest Spring as a topic to a modern artist and what would he think of ? Instantly the hazes and mists of this youth of the year, the buds and blossoms, the song of birds and the building of nests, the myriad things by which impersonal nature expresses her springtime mood. But all of that was a sealed book to the Florentine artist. The human being was his theme, and through this he must in some way suggest, if he suggested at all, the mood that his subject required. How shall we express with human figures the mood of the springtime? Identifications and labels on individual figures are worse than useless. Botticelli would fain give us these figures, nameless or named, in such guise as to suggest the springtime mood. That mood, difficult to formulate in words, is, after all, easily defined to our feeling. It is the time when the sap rises in the trees and nature that has drawn into her shell comes out into the sunshine. It is a time when rigidity again becomes fluid, when gravitation seems to relax her grip, and lightness takes the place of heaviness. It is the time when “the pulses leap, the feet have wings.” This mood Botticelli would fain suggest to us, and hence these figures, lightly clad, not because the weather is warm, but rather because lightness is his theme, stand and yet do not stand, but rather float, buoyed up by this spirit of the spring. Not the most natural way of suggesting this theme, but the Florentine way, a theme which we must catch by sympathy with daring metaphor rather than by prosaic interpretation of terms. And if approached in that mood, we can see at a glance that Botticelli’s departures from nature are merely departures in the interest of poetic interpretation, that these figures which do not stand, are figures which should not stand, and would belie their theme if they did.

All men fall into two classes, or, rather let us say, they tend toward one or the other of two extremes, the prosaic and the poetical. We have all heard the familiar line : — but not all have heard the emendation of a hypothetical critic: “Obviously here is a mistake due to the mere shifting of words, the accident of a careless printer. What the poet intended to write was not `Sermons in stones; books in the running brooks,’ but `Sermons in books; stones in the running brooks.’ ” How obvious when once the suggestion is made ! There are those who see books in the running brooks and others who see only stones in the running brooks. Each sees something worth seeing, each has his place in the great scheme of things. The one is the scientist, the other the poet.

Most artists have something in their work for both temperaments. Most pictures appeal to us in a variety of ways. For instance, we have a picture of Washington crossing the Delaware. The drawing may be indifferent, the coloring bad or the reverse. Independent of these considerations there is the appeal to our patriotism. We are Americans, and the memory of an heroic exploit in behalf of our cause appeals to our sympathy. We forthwith decide the picture to be fine, though to a lover of poetry of color and line it might be execrable. The writer once visited the European galleries with a little company among whom was a lady, singularly obtuse to many aspects of art. The great masters made almost no impression upon her. Effort to interest her proved unavailing and was finally quite abandoned. But quite unexpectedly art made its appeal. It was a wretched picture scarce worth the name of painting, but it represented John the Baptist rebuking Herod for taking his brother Philip’s wife. The lady had pronounced sentiments on the moral problem involved, and her heart instantly warmed to the tartan. Now to most of us, art makes its appeal largely by virtue of associations which, if not extrinsic, are far from being representative of the art in question. Few of us realize that the pictures that we care most for, are pictures with which we have made connection only at the outer edge of art’s domain. The great central interest, the one recognized as supreme in that form of art by the consensus of human experience, we perhaps have ignored altogether.

Botticelli resembles certain poets in being what we may call an utter artist. Most so-called poetry is a mingling of poetry and prose. In Botticelli’s art there is no prose at all, nothing that can be “boiled down into horse sense.” There is almost nothing in his work to appeal to the prosaic side of our nature. There is patriotism, to be sure, as when he celebrates an achievement of Lorenzo in his weird picture of Pallas leading the Centaur, but even then it is an indirect, metaphorical allusion rather than a prosaic representation, and as we come to such pictures as the Allegory of Spring, which are peculiarly characteristic, the importance of giving ourselves up wholly to the extremer poetical mood becomes more apparent. The futility of dissecting and labeling a picture like this may be best suggested by similar attempts to interpret Poe’s Raven or Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. The only result is to completely sidetrack our inquiry. These poems are poetry par excellence, more utterly poetry than anything in Tennyson, though not necessarily more valuable to us, perhaps less so, for that very reason. But the only interpretation that is possible is to give oneself up to their , splendid rhythm until, bit by bit, it weaves its spell around us and holds us fettered as the Mariner did the wedding guest. To dissect and label is simply to break this rhythm and destroy it altogether. Let us therefore, in contemplating a picture like Botticelli’s Spring, simply give ourselves up to the remote suggestion of a temper which all have experienced, the beauty of which all appreciate, and which it is plainly the artist’s purpose to suggest, though his means are not the most familiar, or perhaps the best suited for the purpose.

The religious art of Botticelli is closely akin, however different the theme. It is significant and, to the writer’s mind, a wholesome sign, that Botticelli’s Madonnas have become singularly popular in recent times. No voluptuous taste is here suggested, no splendid mundane beauty, no mere manifestation of maternal tenderness. They are distinctly spiritual. There is an infinite delicacy about the finely chiseled features and a pathos as exquisite as it is unobtrusive in the tender melancholy which just tinges face and figure. Botticelli is uniformly characterized by refinement, by poetic imagination turning toward the unusual and the weird, by a fondness for haunting suggestion which stimulates the mind to ceaseless wonder but never translates itself over into scientific fact.

There is a striking significance which we cannot but attach to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (B 167). The figure is identical, not merely in face and attitude, but even in sentiment expressed, with one of the best known of his Madonnas, the Madonna of the Lilies. The sole difference is that the head is tipped in the opposite way. Madonna and Venus are identical, but which ? Is the Venus a Madonna or is the Madonna a Venus ? We can hardly hesitate. This shrinking apologetic creature, who is wafted tenderly toward the shore upon her shell, to be met by the attendant grotesquely eager to clothe her nakedness, is instinct with the grace and delicacy of the artist. But let us stop for a moment and recall the theme which Botticelli was ostensibly trying to express. It is in the period in which his thought turns strongly toward the ancient poetry. But imagine for a moment a Greek Aphrodite presented upon the scene like this. The thought is inexpressibly grotesque. What does it mean? Suppose we were to ask Botticelli, in good-natured criticism, if he really thought that the Greeks conceived the scene like this. He would doubtless have replied, with a moment’s hesitation, “No, I don’t suppose they did.” “Well, then, why do you so represent her ? ” To which there could have been only a reply something like this, “I wanted to make her as beautiful as possible. She did not appeal to me in the other way.” Must we not so read his picture ? And what does this mean ? True artist that he was, beauty was his goal. It was in the time of that neo-paganism in which there is so much before which we would draw the curtain, a time when we are too wont to say that Christianity was but a fiction and had taken no real hold on life. Yet here is a man actuated only by the impulse to make his Venus beautiful, who endows her with delicate, shrinking modesty and is quick to hide her nakedness from our gaze. Madonna-like tenderness and a sensitiveness unknown to classic thought is indispensable to his ideal of beauty. Surely the centuries of Christian tradition have not been for naught. Conduct was pagan enough, but though conduct is the goal of all ideals, ideals are always more than conduct. It was regrettable that accepted ideals were so little respected in life, but it is significant that at this moment when Christianity was most disparaged and art and thought turned most avowedly toward the unchristian past, the artist who strove most frankly to reproduce the poetry of paganism should have unconsciously revealed how helplessly, hopelessly, the world had become Christian.

Botticelli’s later years were lived under the spell of the great magician, Girolamo Savonarola. The great preacher found in this pagan poet of the Renaissance the most responsive of spirits, and his message wrought upon the romantic mysticism of the artist its indelible impression. Unfortunately, this influence was too overwhelming to find expression through his art. The six years of Savonarola’s supremacy were not favorable to artistic production. The Medici were not dispensing their largess, and devout Piagnoni were not patrons of art. The work of all artists was intermittent at this time. For Botticelli the intermission was well-nigh permanent. The rare messages which come to us from that period in which he looked back upon the great tragedy and listened to the voice that wrought its spell, are full of a weird apocalyptic symbolism that defies interpretation. It was the grace, the tender sentiment, the infinitely expressive line in Botticelli’s art that made him the truest artist of this wonderful century. The tendency to allegory and mysticism always with him was the least valuable of his powers, and with its exaggeration, the charm of his art passed away.

Contemporary with Botticelli is Ghirlandajo, the garland maker, whose interest to us in the history of Florentine art is not a little enhanced by the fact that to him was given the privilege of instructing the youth of Michelangelo. In marked contrast to his great poetical contemporary, Ghirlandajo lacks at once the dashing bravado of Filippo Lippi and the dreamy poetry of Botticelli. As we pass his works in rapid survey, our first impression is that he is rather tiresomely correct, that he never makes a slip and never has an inspiration. Even this uncomplimentary judgment, however, contains implied praise which it is but fair to recognize. It was the task of Ghirlandajo to formulate and systematize Florentine procedure in painting. Fra Lippo, as we have seen, made great advances in the matter of technique but he never was really steady or reliable. Ghirlandajo was nothing if not methodic. The law of linear perspective, for instance, that perspective which was almost the sole reliance of Florentine artists, was not formulated until about Ghirlandajo’s time. The artists felt their way slowly toward the formulation of certain laws. The lines of vision converge more or less; so would run their formulation. It meant much to the science of art to have a law so formulated that it became mathematical, so formulated that the convergence of lines could be scientifically determined and quantitatively expressed. All that has little to do with art as a thing of the spirit, but, after all, it has something to do with it, for it tends to remove those oddities and unnaturalnesses which are liable to distract our attention in contemplation of the real theme itself.

It goes without saying that Ghirlandajo invented nothing surprisingly new. He did not go back and grasp the secret of Masaccio’s open-air perspective. He rather absurdly manifests the lack of it. That is, he follows Florentine procedure in a matter of fact. and unsubtle way For instance, in one of his famous frescoes in Santa Maria Novella he introduces a long wall running from front to rear in his picture at a slight angle so that we may note its immense length and by its converging lines may appreciate the distance, much after the fashion of Masolino’s arcade, but it has neither the elegance nor the plausibility of the arcade. It is not connected with any building or with any other wall. It serves no purpose except that of perspective. It is used with great technical correctness but with no feeling whatever for meaning or sentiment. One can understand Michelangelo’s later judgment upon his master which he expressed with such undisguised contempt. Imagine a huge wall running end-wise into some picture of the Sistine ceiling just to give the suggestion of perspective and depth !

If we turn to his portrayal of character, he is equally matter of fact and uninspired. Few pictures are less soul-stirring than his Last Supper, in which the disciples and even the Christ himself are represented in a monumental dignity that borders on stolidity. There is not the faintest touch of that fine emotion, that deeper spiritual passion which is so inseparable in our thought from the life of the great Master. This lack of inspired feeling, on the other hand, opens the door wide to irrelevancies. In his Adoration of the Child, the Madonna, a rather elegant society woman, goes properly through the forms, while the quite impossible shepherds, who prove to be Ghirlandajo and his brothers, are ostentatiously rather than devoutly present. Other irrelevancies are even more glaring — the preposterous elegance of the marble sarcophagus which he has wrought for the Child’s manger, the silly, spiritual participation of his donkey and cow, and, finally, the elaborate architecture which fills the foreground and background with needlessly abundant and irrelevant details. All this quickly arouses a feeling of impatience.

If we return to Santa Maria Novella where his great frescoes must determine his title to fame, the same trait appears in more dignified but perhaps more fundamental form. The angel appears to Zacharias in the background, while in solid ranks are lined up on either side the great Florentines of his time. They are quite conscious of their importance and stand there in their best clothes and their best dignity, but completely intercepting any attention that we might be tempted to give to the angel and Zacharias. More striking still is this interference in the picture of the Nativity of John the Baptist (B 200), where the attention of nurse, mother, and all other participants is completely absorbed by the awe-inspiring presence of a lady of the Tornabuoni family who, in queenly dignity, accepts as of right this universal homage, ignoring the child and assuming as a matter of course that we will do the same. The disregard of the alleged religious theme begun by Fra Lippo is here as complete as it is in Botticelli’s Visit of the Magi, but without the compensations which Botticelli gives us, for Botticelli often in such cases gives us a group of portraits, always free from Ghirlandajo’s stage consciousness and so profoundly significant as to largely compensate for the loss of the religious theme, while in other religious pictures, notably of the Ma-donna, he is profoundly and significantly true. Not so Ghirlandajo. There is never any wasted homage in his religious themes, though they are the only themes that he treats. Ostensibly religious, he is absolutely committed, not to the poetry of paganism like Botticelli in his earlier years, but to the matter of fact realism of his time, and, withal, in these scenes, religious or otherwise, there is a uniform, monumental decorum which is manifestly perfect and often egregiously out of place. It is easy to dismiss Ghirlandajo at this point as a great painter who knew nothing of art.

But in our very criticism there is a suggestion of one quality which must be credited to Ghirlandajo’s account. His dignity, his monumental decorum, are oftentimes out of place. They are always fatal to a dramatic theme ; they are hardly more suitable in a theme whose spirit is that of intimacy and realism. But there are certain great state occasions in which Ghirlandajo’s art finds its appropriate place. He would have been, of all the Italian painters, the one best suited to paint the coronation of King George. The majesty of perfect order, the beauty of formalism (for it has a beauty), this was Ghirlandajo’s theme. To it he bends all the resources of his art. Notice the figure of Giovanna Tornabuoni already referred to. She is, of course, not accessory to the theme. The theme is accessory to her. She is in that sense absurdly out of place. But she is magnificent in her dignity, and bears well the part which wealth and rank impose upon her. And notice how the details of Ghirlandajo’s art contribute to that fact. Just imagine her for a moment without the stately dress which she wears and clad in the delicate draperies of Botticelli, the draperies of the Judith, for instance. All her dignity would disappear. She would be totally out of character. These stately draperies, which, by the way, are never hard and stiff, merely dignified and magnificent, are as appropriate to Ghirlandajo’s great theme as is Botticelli’s style to his very different temper. It is neither poetry in lighter vein nor the deep voice of tragedy or passion, nor yet the spirit of subtle spirituality that Ghirlandajo is fitted to express. But there is a poetry none the less in the majesty of those great formal occasions which life sometimes offers. For these Ghirlandajo was suited, but these, alas, were not the themes that were popular in his time, which inclined toward the dramatic. So his dignity, so often out of place, seems to us stilted and pompous ; his passivity and decorum under conditions of stirring passion seem to us stolidity. So in some degree they must be accounted. No man who entered so little into the spirit of the themes which he represented as did Ghirlandajo, can be thought a man of subtle insight. None the less, the ambition for which he so seldom found occasion, was a real ambition, and is to be remembered. as one of the contributions to Florentine art.

But at the last we must repeat what we said at first. Ghirlandajo stands for the finished technique of Florentine art. What had been approximated before, now became final and complete. The Florentine way of painting was not the only way nor even the best way, but such as it was, Ghirlandajo said the last word. In him the science of Florentine painting culminated, and with him its career as such terminated.

But in him the spiritual significance of Florentine art dwindled to the vanishing point. The travail and triumph of the spirit which Florentine art had striven to express, no longer interest Ghirlandajo. The soul-stirring message of prophet and martyr he repeats perfunctorily with the droning intonation of the mass, and with a mind all to evidently intent on ritualistic decorum, not to say on extrinsic and irrelevant things. It is time for a new vision and a new prophet, but the creative power of both Ghirlandajo and the city that bred him, seemed spent. It is significant of the whole relation of things that both Leonardo and Ghirlandajo’s great pupil left Florence soon after Ghirlandajo’s death, and that they bore to other centers the art which she had made great, but which, in herself, she could no longer make greater. She had produced her supreme offspring and had exhausted her energy in giving them birth.