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Coppo di  Marcovaldo

1225-1274

Founder of the Sienese School

Florentine Italian Painter in the Byzantine Tradition

Education - apprenticed at age 10 to local Greek icon makers and later  a gold smith

Medium - Tempera and gold leaf on wood

Cause of death - unknown

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Biography

Coppo di Marcovaldo was the Michelangelo of his day. Famous for his Christian-themed painted icons with ecclesiastical figures often hovering above the Virgin Mary.  Coppo di Marcovaldo started life as a hard drinking soldier in the army of Florence.  The weary young veteran establish a home and studio in Siena after he was imprisoned following the bloody Battle of Montaperti. 

The brilliant artist was in great demand for his aesthetically pleasing masterpieces.  The church commissioned religious images for alter pieces and interior paintings on panel.
Accoding to author and art historian Clive bell "Art and religion belong to the same world. Both are bodies in which men try to capture and keep alive their shyest and most ethereal conceptions. The kingdom of neither is of this world. Rightly, therefore, do we regard art and religion as twin manifestations of the spirit; wrongly do some speak of art as a manifestation of religion." Coppo di Marcovaldo' s paintings became prized for their inventive compositions and immense beauty.  His style was typified by a certain poetical tenderness,  combined naturalistic element with the fantastic religious fervor typical of the Byzantine painting tradition.  Most prominently featured in his work are  the holy figures of the Christian faith---
Christ Saints, The CrossVirgin Mary Chalice, Keys, The Anchor, Wheat The Good Shepherd, The Apostles, Animals,Fish, Angels, Birds, Insects  and Satan 


Until the Middle Ages men regarded themselves as following the Good Shepherd, and art consequently did not recognize the individual in particular. In the structure and position of  the figures, as in their expression, a general and uniform type of beauty prevailed. The early Renaissance marks the victory of individualism and the uncompromising prominence of he individual.  According to Renaissance historian Walter Pater  "Here, artists and philosophers and those whom the action of the world has elevated and made keen, do not live in isolation, but breathe a common air, and catch light and heat from each other’s thoughts. There is a spirit of general elevation and enlightenment in which all alike communicate. The unity of this spirit gives unity to all the various products of the Renaissance; and it is to this intimate alliance with the mind, this participation in the best thoughts which that age produced, that the art of Italy in the fifteenth century owes much of its grave dignity and influence.."

Renaissance Art Characteristics and Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world, City-state, Humanism, Humanist, Francesco Petrarch, Reform, The Prince, Theocracy, The Inquisition, Human Reasoning,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists, sfumato, chiaroscuro, linear perspectiveHeliocentric Theory, vanishing point, Savonarola, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscriptidealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world, mythology,  realistic use of colours and lightBonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.

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Coppo di Marcovaldo

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