Italy, 1400 To 1500
1.In 1401 an important competition was held to determine the design of
the Baptistery doors for the Cathedral of Florence. Even at this early
date Renaissance traits were evident. Which of the following is one of
a. adherence to the 14th century frame
b. a new pictorial illusionism
c. maintaining artist anonymity
d. humility of civic pride
2.Ghiberti’s competitive panel for the Baptistery doors of the
Florence Cathedral shows classical references that reflect influences
of humanism. Which of the following is a classical reference seen on
a. the drapery flowing from the body of Isaac
b. the elongated S curve of Isaac’s body
c. the profusion of cloth puddled around Abraham
d. the naked figure of Isaac
3.In Ghiberti’s Isaac and his Sons from the east doors of the
Baptistery, he arranged the figures in front of grandiose
architecture. Which of the following architects stated, “the grandeur
of the architecture reflects the dignity of the events shown in the
d. Andrea da Sangallo
4.Which of the following describes the Medieval narrative method?
a. presenting several episodes in a single frame
b. presenting several episodes in sequential frames
c. presenting several episodes in multiple round frames
d. presenting several episodes framed by Doric columns
5.Which of the following describes Ghiberti’s use of the Medieval
narrative method in his Baptistery panel?
a. The figures on either side gracefully turn in opposite
b. The figures gracefully move in the same direction.
c. The figures in varying degrees of projection and postures, move
gracefully through a convincing stage space.
d. The center figures point to the sides and include them in the
6.Which of the following artists actively collected Classical
a. Nanni di Banco
d. Gentile da Fabriano
7.Which of the following works represented the beginning of the process
of separating architectural sculpture from its architectural setting
a. Bronze doors, Baptistery, Florence Cathedral
b. Portal South Transept, Chartres Cathedral
c. 13th century statues, West Front, Reims Cathedral
d. Four Crowned Saints, Or San Michele
8.Donatello was commissioned to create five statues for the bell tower
(Campanile) of Florence Cathedral. How did he design these figures in
relation to the height factor?
a. each figure bent from the waist and loomed over the viewer
b. with subtly calculated distortions
c. he made no adjustments at all
d. with magnified distortions
9.How does Gentile da Fabriano reconcile the Adoration of the Magi with
the current trends in Florentine Renaissance art?
a. He included a classical nude in the predella scene of the Flight into
b. He used a “modern” architectural setting for the Adoration scene.
c. The background scene of the Adoration is the classical Roman
d. He depicted animals from a variety of angles and foreshortened their
10.How did Masaccio create a sense of bulk for his figures in the
a. through modeling with a specific light source outside the picture
b. through modeling with a flat neutral light
c. through modeling with an identifiable light source within the picture
d. through modeling
11.In Masaccio’s Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden Adam’s feet clearly
come into contact with the ground. Which of the following is the
interpretation for this?
a. It marks the Original Sin.
b. It marks the human presence on earth.
c. It marks the direction the viewer must proceed in the chapel.
d. It points the viewer toward the theme of Salvation and Redemption.
12.In Masaccio’s Trinity there is a coffered barrel-vault reminiscent of
which of the following?
a. The Baths of Diocletian
b. The Pantheon
c. A Roman triumphal arch
d. The Basilica of Constantine
13.In Masaccio’s Trinity, he embodies two principal Renaissance
interests. One is realism based on observation. Which of the following
is the other?
a. It is the application of mathematics to pictorial organization of
b. It is the use of antique elements as components of the work.
c. It is the introduction of the donors into the context of the work.
d. It is using architecture as a frame.
14.In Masaccio’s Trinity, the vanishing point can be found at which of
a. between the dove of the Holy Spirit and God the Father
b. above the head of God the Father
c. at the foot of the Cross
d. on the face of the Crucified Christ
15.Which of the following artists was the winner of the famous
competition for the bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery?
d.Nanni di Banco
16.Which of the following architects wrote influential treatises on
painting and architecture?
17.Which of the following was the Dominican painter-friar who combined
elements of the new style of art with traditional religious devotional
works that did not conflict with the content of the works?
a.Piero della Francesca
d. Fra Filippo Lippi
18.The fifteenth-century Italian artist whose work showed the most
influence of the International style was ______________.
b.Gentile da Fabriano
c.Andrea del Castagno
19.Which of the following individuals denounced humanist philosophy?
b.Piero della Francesca
d.Lorenzo de’ Medici
20.The development of linear perspective is generally credited to
21.Which of Brunelleschi’s buildings comes the closest to the
centralized plan so loved by Renaissance architects?
a.Ospedale degli Innocenti
22.Which Italian city played the most important role in the development
of Renaissance ideas and art forms in the early fifteenth century?
23.Which of the following accounts for the decline in the role Florence
played in the support of the arts at the end of the 15th century?
a. death of Lorenzo de’Medici
b. incursion of the French armies
c. death of Masaccio
d. Savonarola’s brief span of power
24.Which of the following was the most prominent patron of fifteenth-
century Florentine art?
25.The style of Ghiberti can be characterized as a rhythmic, unified
system for depicting space. He is further credited with which of the
a.heavy reliance on Medieval sculptural elements
b.continued use of Gothic frames
c.realism in characterization, movement, and surface detail
d.posing his figures in the architectural space he created
26.Which of the following artists departed from the rule of frontality
that dominated sculpture since the Middle Ages?
a.Piero della Francesca
d.Andrea del Castagno
27.The Classical principle of contrapposto, or weight shift, was
reintroduced into Western art by the sculptor ______________.
28.The duke of Mantua commissioned the frescoes of the Camera degli
Sposi from Mantegna for which of the following purposes?
a.To memorialize courtly life
b.To create a visual expression of his authority
c.To challenge the Medici as the leading patron of the arts in
d.to create a tribute to his wife
29.In Perugino’s Christ Delivering the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter,
the artist has reminded the viewer of the link between Constantine,
St. Peter, and the basilica of St. Peter. Which of the following is
the vehicle used as that reminder?
a.the triumphal arches in the background
b.the Pantheon -like temple in the background
c.the key dangling from Peter’s hand
d.the great marble piazza in the background
30.Which of the following describes the style of Fra Angelico?
a.lush and opulent
c.simple and direct
d.dynamic and complex
31.Which of the following artists was most interested in depicting the
human body in violent action?
32.In Castagno’s Last Supper, where does Judas appear and why?
Answer: He is separated from the other Apostles in order to clearly
identify him as the betrayer.
33.Who was Erasmo da Narni, and what was his nickname? Explain its
Answer: He was a Venetian condottiere. Donatello had been
commissioned by the city fathers to create an equestrian statue of
Erasmo. He was known as Gattamelata or “honeyed cat” which was a play
on his mother’s name Melania Gattelli. The commission was a visible
signal of the city’s gratitude to Gattamelata for his leadership.
34.The Ruccellai family commissioned a new facade for Santa Maria
Novella a thirteenth century Florentine church. Why is the faade
Answer: Alberti created an ingenious solution to a difficult design
problem. He incorporated the organizational principles of Renaissance
architecture onto a medieval structure. He reconciled the structure to
the new faade by unifying the faade with classical elements that
compliment the original medieval elements: the classical volutes
complement the medieval rose window.
35.Piero della Francesca produced the fresco cycle in San Francesco,
Arezzo. Why is this fresco cycle significant?
Answer: He allowed the architectural background to organize and
control the groupings of figures. As the architectonic nature of the
work begins to unfold, the mood of the cycle takes on a solemnity and
stillness that compliments the theme. It becomes spatially clear and
36.Who was Savonarola?
Answer: Savonarola was a late 15th century Dominican monk who
preached in Florence and denounced the Medici. He claimed they had
corrupted the city and were the cause of the current military
incursions initiated by the French. He also condemned humanism and
called for the destruction of all things related to humanism.
Fortunately his span of power and influence was not lengthy. However
some scholars attribute Florence’s decline as the leading center for
culture to Savonarola’s leadership.
37.What is the significance of Perugino’s Christ Delivering the Keys of
the Kingdom to St. Peter?
Answer: The papacy predicated its claims of infallibility and
authority on this event. This work becomes the visible expression of
papal authority. In addition, Perugino organized the action and the
space incorporating the artistic knowledge acquired in this century
and uniting it with humanist ideals.
38.What was the importance to an artist of a papal invitation to Rome?
Answer: It was considered an honor to be invited to serve the papacy.
Many artists enjoyed the reputation they garnered from such an
invitation. Many artists upon returning home enjoyed increased
patronage and commissions.
39.Why was Mantua important to art history in this period?
Answer: Located in northern Italy, its famous condottiere, Ludovico
Gonzaga, determined after a papal visit to transform Mantua into a
cultural capital. He set about that very purpose. He understood the
value of the visual statement as an enhancement to power and leverage.
He employed well-respected artists, among them Andrea Mantegna. He
also commissioned a fresco series for his residence, which reiterated
his power and his dynasty.
40.How was Signorelli influential?
Answer: His interests in portraying muscular bodies in violent
actions expressed visually horrific consequences and great emotion.
He fits the twisting figures into a coherent presentation. He showed
great skill in presenting the foreshortened human figure in action.
Signorelli furthered the developments initiated by Pollaiuolo in
presenting a variety of poses and foreshortenings of the human figure.
41.What is significant about Nanni di Banco’s Four Crowned Saints?
Answer: The artist positioned the figures in a semicircle within the
niche and had them relate to each other by posture and gesture. He
created a unified composition not tied to the niche or the
42.How does Masaccio respond to the element of taxation or catasto in
the Tribute Money?
Answer: Scholars have suggested that the narrative in the Tribute
Money is perhaps a support for just such a tax. Masaccio has depicted
St. Peter finding the tax money in the mouth of a fish and paying the
tax collector. However, the considerable wealth of the patron Felice
Brancacci seems to indicate a less than active support for taxes in
any shape or form. So the determination for narrative value of this
fresco is still under debate.
43.What does the interior of Santo Spirito exemplify?
Answer: It illustrates the Renaissance spirit of faith in reason
rather than emotion.
44.How did Masaccio impact 15th century Florence?
Answer: His artistic adjustments, such as pictured space to the
position of the viewer allowed current and subsequent artists to fully
explore the advantages of such tools. His ability to create illusion
as a measured, rational coherent statement also allowed further
explorations. Masaccio laid the foundation for perspective but also
for a unified and harmonious monumental composition, which was fully
realized in the 16th century.
45.What features characterize the work of Domenico Ghirlandaio?
Answer: Ghirlandaio was a synthesizer, not an innovator. His work
provides an excellent picture of Florence at the end of the fifteenth
century. He depicted detailed representations of the life, pageantry,
costume, and material wealth of the citizens.
46.How did Donatello shift interest in the depiction of the nude?
Answer: Donatello reinvented or rediscovered the classical nude. Even
though his figure of David is biblical, he used the relaxed
contraposto and proportions of Praxitelean classicism. He invoked
classical formats and furthered the pursuit of humanist ideals. He
reintroduced the nude back into the artistic vocabulary.
47.Briefly describe the contributions of Lorenzo de’ Medici.
Answer: He was considered the greatest patron of art in fifteenth-
century Florence. Lorenzo used his wealth and position to shape the
political structure of Florence. He used the Medici wealth to
commission art and architecture on a scale rarely seen. His court was
a center of learning and humanism. He and his family contributed to
the Renaissance ideal by supporting artists and funding great
48.How was the Medici commission of the statues of David significant?
Answer: The family was aligning itself visually with the city of
Florence by identifying themselves with the symbol of Florence. They
became responsible servants for the city’s interests and prosperity.
The family commissioned the statues from both Donatello and
Verrocchio. Both artists were recognized for their sculpture and the
Medici commissions further emphasized their commitment to the city-
state of Florence.
49.Describe linear perspective.
Answer: Linear perspective is a mathematically based system that
creates a window into space in which all parallel lines that are
perpendicular to the picture plane converge at a single point known as
the vanishing point, which falls on the horizon.
50.What caused a revival of portraiture in the fifteenth century?
Answer: Humanism’s emphasis on individual achievement and
51.How did Gentile da Fabriano reflect the International style in the
first half of the fifteenth century?
Answer: He created gorgeous surfaces and sumptuously costumed figures
representing all the pomp and circumstance of chivalric etiquette. He
used rich color and gold to enhance the scene. But Gentile da Fabriano
also inserted into this work, for example the Adoration of the Magi,
current elements that indicated that he was aware of the experimental
trends in 15th century Florentine art.
SAMPLE ESSAY QUESTIONS
52.Describe Donatello’s contribution to the sculpture of the fifteenth
century. Use examples to support your essay.
Answer: pages 546-547, 545-546, 549, 550-551.
53.Explain the effect Florentine patronage had on the development of
fifteenth-century art. Use at least three examples to support your
Answer throughout the chapter.
54.Describe the impact humanism and its attendant philosophy had on the
work of Botticelli and Perugino. Use examples to support your essay.
Answer: pages 541-542, 559-560, 568.
55.Contrast the work of Donatello and Verrocchio. How does each artist
respond to the aesthetics of the Renaissance tradition? Use examples
to support your essay.
Answer: pages 545-546, 549-550.
56.How does this statement by Ghiberti, “I strove to imitate nature as
closely as I could…” reflect the development of art in fifteenth
century Italy? Use examples to support your essay.
Answer found throughout the chapter.
57.How does the Trinity by Masaccio express 15th century Renaissance
humanism? Include in your essay examples from two other artists who
express the same humanist ideals. Did they express humanism in the
same way? Use examples to support your essay.
Answer found throughout the chapter.
58.How did perspective shape Renaissance art? Discuss three examples.
Answer found throughout the chapter.
59.How did central-plan church design express Renaissance ideals? How
did architects reflect Renaissance ideals using other church plans?
Use examples to support your essay.
Answer: pages 562-567.
60.Explain the extent to which Alberti realized the principles of his
theoretical writings in the architecture of specific buildings he
Answer: pages 566-567.
61.How did the competition for the Baptistery doors of the Cathedral of
Florence shape the Renaissance tradition in 15th century Italy? Use
examples to support your essay
Answer found throughout the chapter.
a.door panel Siena Cathedral
b.door panel St. Peter’s, Rome
c.competitive panel Santa Croce
d.competitive panel Baptistery, Florence
b.Ospedale degli Innocenti
d.Santa Maria delle Carceri
b.di sotto in s
b.Nanni di Banco
a. Piero Della Francesca
b. Melozzo Da Forli
82.What are the Roman and Northern European influences seen in this
work? How did Piero come into contact with them?
Answer: Piero della Francesca, Battista Sforza and Federico da
Piero would have been familiar with Northern European developments
employed Flemish painters at his court. But Piero depicted the Urbino
condottiere and his wife in profile, in part to emulate the profile
portraits of Roman rulers on coins (FIG. 10-81), which Renaissance
humanists avidly collected. The backs of the panels also bear
paintings. They represent Federico and Battista in triumphal chariots
accompanied by personifications of their respective virtues, including
Justice, Prudence, and Fortitude (Federico) and Faith, Charity, and
Chastity (Battista). The placement of scenes of triumph on the reverse
of profile portraits also emulates ancient Roman coinage.
83.What features of this tomb make direct reference back to ancient
Answer: Bernardo Rossellino, Tomb of Leonardo Bruni (21-1A). The tomb
is rich in color-white, black, and red marbles with selective gilding.
Rossellino based his effigy of Bruni on ancient Roman sarcophagi (FIG.
10-81). The chancellor lies on a funerary bier supported by Roman
eagles atop a sarcophagus resting on the foreparts of lions. Bruni,
dressed in a toga and crowned with a laurel wreath, holds one of his
books, probably his history of Florence. The realism of Bruni’s head
has led many scholars to postulate that Rossellino based his portrait
on a wax death mask, following ancient Roman practice (see Chapter 10
and FIG. 10-7). The base of the tomb is a frieze of putti carrying
garlands, a standard motif on Roman sarcophagi.
84.How does Melozzo Da Forli emulate Masaccio in this painting?
Answer: Melozzo da Forl, Pope Sixtus IV Confirming Platina as
Melozzo’s debt to Masaccio (FIG. 21-20) as well as to his teacher,
Piero della Francesca (FIGS. 21-42 and 21-43), is evident in his
weighty and solemn figures and in his interest in employing
perspective to unify the painted space of his fresco with that of the
surrounding room. A steady rhythm of piers rendered in precise linear
perspective leads the eye farther into the background. To enhance the
illusionism, Melozzo painted Platina’s cloak spilling over the
inscription at the bottom of the fresco.
77.How do these portraits resemble each other, and how do they differ?
Answer: Verrocchio’s Colleoni (Figure 21-16) and the Roman equestrian
portrait of Marcus Aurelius (Figure 10-59). The Marcus Aurelius of the
second century CE predates the Colleoni, which was created in the
second half of the fifteenth century. Both statues represent rulers
and military leaders. The differences are not great, yet each work is
characteristic of its respective period. The Colleoni represents the
larger-than-life condottiere, who rules with power and might and shows
no mercy. Marcus Aurelius represents a thoughtful Caesar who
understands the term “empire” and all it encompasses. He is a ruler
who is a statesman and leader while Colleoni is brutality and
78.How does the renovation of this church by Alberti demonstrate his
ideas about Classical form and harmonic relationships between parts?
Answer: Alberti, facade of Santa Maria Novella (Figure 21-39).
Alberti designed a small, pseudo-Classical, pediment-capped temple
front for the upper part of the facade and supported it with a broad
base of pilaster-enframed arcades. The height of the facade equals the
width, so that the entire structure can be contained in a square. The
upper portico is exactly one-fourth the size of the main square, while
a cornice separates the two halves of the main square. The segments of
the lower portion are all created in sizes that can be expressed in a
simple numerical relationship to the whole.
79.How is this portrait significant?
Answer: Ghirlandaio Giovanna Tornabuoni (Figure 21-25). In this
portrait the artist summarizes the state of Florentine art.
Ghirlandaio has presented a careful character reading of the young
woman. The portrait also tells the viewer the value of the cultivation
of beauty and courtly manners as well as the humanist tradition was
held in Florentine society.
80.How did this work reflect traditions of portraiture during the
Answer: Donatello, Gattamelata (Figure 21-15). By not representing
Gattalmelata as larger than life, Donatello, emphasized the character
of the man. He did not create a heroic monument, but a portrait
representing an Italian military leader, an utterly confident
condottiere and a man of his times.
81.How do these images symbolize Florence?
Answer: Donatello, David (Figure 21-12), and Verrocchio, David
(Figure 21-13). Donatello’s contemplative nude re-creates the
Classical prototype. His David has the closed, quiet silhouette seen
in Praxitelean nudes. Verrocchio’s David conforms to the traditional
representation. However both figures symbolize the state of Florence
and its adherence to the humanist ideals. Humanist ideals represented
a return to classicism yet tempered with the energy of a 15th century
power broker. Both images represented 15th century Florence.
82.How does the work represent logical space?
Answer: Masaccio, Holy Trinity (Figure 21-20). We look down on the
tomb and up at the architecture and Trinity. Masaccio uses perspective
to differentiate between the sacred and the profane realms. Yet he
delineates for the viewer the logical placement of the figures in
rational space based on factual observation.
83.What major change had taken place in the representation of pictorial
space as seen in this work?
Answer: Ghiberti, Isaac and his Sons, Gates of Paradise, Baptistery
Doors, Florence (Figure 21-11). Perspective had been invented. In the
panel Ghiberti created a deep, logical space. Although he placed the
major figures in a parallel plane in front of the architecture rather
than fully utilizing the space, he did place several smaller figures
within it to relieve any uncertainties. The viewer experienced very
little confusion because of the careful and subtle placement of the
each grouping within the whole scene.
84.In what ways does the plan of this building reflect the ideal forms
of Renaissance architecture?
Answer: Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Plan (Figure 21-34). The building
nearly realized the centralized plan that was to fascinate Renaissance
architects. The emphasis was on the central, dome-covered space. The
wall was articulated with simple, geometric, modular forms that can be
related with simple arithmetic ratios.