Andrea di Cione di Arcangelo (c. 1308–August 25, 1368),
better known as Orcagna, was an Italian painter, sculptor, and
architect active in Florence. Orcagna was the leading Florentine artist
of the third quarter of the 14th century, a painter, sculptor, architect,
and administrator. His nickname ‘Orcagna’ was apparently
local slang for ‘Archangel’ (Arcangelo). In 1343–44
he was admitted to the guild of the painters and nine years later to
that of the masons.
His only certain work as a painter is the altarpiece of The Redeemer
with the Madonna and Saints (1354–57) in the Strozzi Chapel of
Sta Maria Novella. This is the most powerful Florentine painting of its
period, and in spite of the massiveness of the figures it represents a
reversion from Giotto's naturalism to the hieratic ideals of Byzantine
art. Colours are resplendent, with lavish use of gold, and the figures
are remote and immobile. The major work attributed to Orcagna is a
fragmentary fresco trilogy of the Triumph of Death, Last Judgement,
and Hell in Sta Croce.
As a sculptor and architect he is known through one work, the tabernacle
in Or San Michele (finished 1359), a highly elaborate ornamental structure
housing a painting of the Virgin Enthroned by Bernardo Daddi. Orcagna was
capomaestro of Orvieto Cathedral from 1358 to 1362, supervising the mosaic
decoration of the façade. He was also an adviser on the construction of
Florence Cathedral. During 1368 Orcagna fell mortally ill while painting
the St Matthew altarpiece (Uffizi, Florence) and this work was finished
by his brother Jacopo di Cione, who worked in his style and continued it
to the end of the century.
Another brother, Nardo di Cione, was also a painter. Ghiberti attributes
to him the series of frescos of The Last Judgement, Hell, and Paradise
in the Strozzi Chapel, Sta Maria Novella, which houses Andrea's great
altarpiece. Orcagna's style was the dominant influence in late 14th
century Florentine painting.
From October of 1916 through January of 1917, Rudolf Steiner gave a series
of nine lectures known as the Art Course. These lectures were given
the title of:
The History of Art.
Click here to discover what Steiner said about
in the first lecture, or in the entire