A Text Book of the History of Painting by John C Van Dyke L H D

By John C Van Dyke L H D

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The church building was a house of refuge for the oppressed, and it was made attractive not only in its lines and proportions but in its ornamentation. Hence the two motives of the early work—religious teaching and decoration. SUBJECTS AND TECHNICAL METHODS: There was no distinct Judaic or Christian type used in the very early art. The painters took their models directly from the Roman frescos and marbles. It was the classic figure and the classic costume, and those who produced the painting of the early period were the degenerate painters of the classic world.

It is probable that Francia at first was influenced by Costa's methods, and it is quite certain that he in turn influenced Costa in the matter of refined drawing and sentiment, though Costa always adhered to a certain detail and ornament coming from the north, and a landscape background that is peculiar to himself, and yet reminds one of Pinturricchio's landscapes. These two men, Francia and Costa, were the Perugino and Pinturricchio of the Ferrara-Bolognese school, and the most important painters in that school.

The decline continued during the sixth and seventh centuries, owing somewhat perhaps to the influence of Byzantium and the introduction into Italy of Eastern types and elements. In the eighth century the Iconoclastic controversy broke out again in fury with the edict of Leo the Isaurian. This controversy was a renewal of the old quarrel in the Church about the use of pictures and images. Some wished them for instruction in the Word; others decried them as leading to idolatry. It was a long quarrel of over a hundred years' duration, and a deadly one for art.

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