Study Of Art – Painting In The Fifteenth Century: Umbria.


Ottaviano Nelli. fl. 1403-—1444

Gentile da Fabriano. 1360?—1428?

Ottaviano Nelli, son of a painter of Gubbio, has left a wall painting in Gubbio and frescos in the town hall of Foligno which seem like enlarged miniatures. He removed to Urbino in 1420.

Gentile, born in Fabriano, traveled and painted throughout Italy. In 1419 he was in Bergamo and Brescia. In Venice he was intimately associated with Pisanello and Jacopo Bellini. His masterpiece was painted in Florence in 1423. In 1427 he painted a series of frescos in St. John Lateran, Rome, of such excellence that Roger van der Weyden pronounced him the most excellent painter in all Italy.


No. 111. Madonna and Child, Saints and Angels.

S. Maria Nuova, Gubbio.

A well-preserved wall painting, signed by Ottaviano and dated 1403. Kugler says of it, ” it is a gay mixture of unsubstantial figures, with graceful heads, on a blue diapered ground, like a magnified miniature.” Donors kneel on either side. The charming motive of the angel musicians who play to the Christ child suggests C 214 and D 366.

No. 112. Adoration of the Magi.

Academy, Florence.

Painted by Gentile in 1423 for S. Trinità, Florence. The colors are bright and clear; gold is used lavishly in halos, ornaments, and trappings of the horses. Dogs, monkeys, and falcons suggest the hunting train of courtiers. In the background is seen the train winding up to the city. One of the most delightful of mediaeval pictures, though painted in the decade during which Masaccio was at work in the Brancacci Chapel.

No. 113. Madonna adoring the Child.

Museum, Pisa.

No. 114. Madonna and Child.

Yale Art School, New Haven, Conn.

Compare these Madonnas with those by Cimabue, by Sienese artists, with Fra Angelico’s Madonna of the Linaiuoli, painted in 1433.