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10-02-2000, 07:27 PM
I know very little about why this painter was important. SGTaylor could you help me out here? Or anyone else?
10-03-2000, 10:38 AM
Cennino d'Andrea Cennini was the pupil of Agnolo Gaddi, the son and pupil of Taddeo Gaddi who in turn was the student and successor of Giotto.
It has always been assumed that Cennini was at best a mediocre painter, and so far as is known, none of his work survives. Being a 4th generation follower of Giotto at a time when Italian painting was advancing rapidly, it is unlikely that his paintings would be of any particular significance even had they survived.
Cennini's contribution to the arts was the "Il Libro dell' Arte" which is our major source of information on quattrocento painting techniques.
The book was first translated into English by Mrs. Merrifield in 1844. Unfortunately, she was working from an Italian original that was incomplete.
The first complete English translation was published in 1899 by Christiana J. Herringham who was in her day a renowned copyist of Florentine Renaissance paintings. She founded "The Society of Painters in Tempera," an organization of artists dedicated to studying and expanding upon the techniques in Cennini's book. (The society was later renamed "The Society of Mural Decorators and Painters in Tempera." I believe that the group fell apart in the late 1920's.)
In 1933 the book was once again tranlated into English by Daniel V. Thompson, Jr. as "The Craftsman's Handbook." This translation is still in publication along with Thompson's other books, "The Practice of Tempera Painting" and "The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting." All three are available from Dover Publications.
Each English publication of "Il Libro dell' Arte" generated a new interest in egg tempera painting which had all but been forgotten by the time of Mrs. Merrifield's translation - but the book also deals with drawing, illuminated manuscripts, fresco, and surprisingly enough, oil painting - proving that drying oils were used in painting long before Van Eyck, who has been incorrectly credited with the invention of oil painting. There was also a section on Mosaic, but that portion of the manuscript was damaged or missing in all three of the original Italian copies of the manuscript.
10-03-2000, 10:38 AM
The reason that Cennino Cennini is important is because he documented the working methods and techniques of early Italian Renaissance artists in a book that has been passed down to us. His is considered the definitive book of that period.
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