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THE USE OF TRECENTO SOURCES IN ANTONIAZZO ROMANO AND LORENZO DA VITERBO

Gerardo de Simone

 

ABSTRACT

Lorenzo da Viterbo and Antoniazzo Romano were the two greatest local painters of the fifteenth century in the region of Rome. Despite their stature, their fame and scholarly fortune has been much inferior to their merits, compared to other contemporary artists. Not surprisingly, the use of fourteenth-century sources by Antoniazzo and Lorenzo has gone so far unnoticed: while Lorenzo mainly looked at Sienese models, Antoniazzo showed a preference towards Florence. This essay analyses the complex references to Trecento examples, which affect both composition and meaning, especially in Antoniazzo’s decoration of cardinal Bessarion’s chapel in the Roman church of SS. Apostoli (1464-65) and in Lorenzo’s frescoes in the Mazzatosta chapel, in the church of S. Maria della Verità at Viterbo. The influence of Tuscan sources offers a strong clue in favour of a sojourn of both painters in that region over the 1460s (Lorenzo will be documented in Florence in 1473), and of a fruitful experience of Tuscan monuments and artists.