The International Gothic style in Italy
Late Medieval Italian art continued to be largely ecclesiastical.
Church facades and pulpits were festooned with statues and carvings. In both Gothic painting and sculpture, figures tended to be more natural than in the Romanesque (and the colors in painting more varied and rich), but highly stylized and rhythmic, the figures's features and gestures exaggerated for symbolic or emotional emphasis.
In painting especially, late Gothic artists such as Giotto—the greatest Gothic artist, the man who lifted painting from its Byzantine funk and set it on the road to the realism and perspective of the Renaissance—started introducing greater realism, a sense of depth, and more realistic emotion into their art, sowing the seeds of the Renaissance.
The best examples of Gothic art in Italy
- The bulk of great Gothic art resides in Tuscany and Umbria, but Verona was blessed to have Antonio Pisanello (1395–1455), whose frescoes survive in Sant'Anastasia and San Fermo, and in Mantua (Mantova) at the Palazzo Ducale.
- Pisano Pulpits (1255–1311). Father Nicola (1200-84) and son Giovanni (1245-1320) Pisano together crafted four relief-laden pulpits in Tuscany: in Pisa's Baptistery and Duomo, in Siena's Duomo, and in Pistoia's Sant'Andrea.
- Andrea Orcagna (1344–68). A multitalented Florentine Gothic painter (frescoes in Santa Croce and Santo Spirito, the Strozzi altarpiece in Santa Maria Novella), sculptor (the elaborate tabernacle in Orsanmichele), and architect (the Loggia dei Lanzi, whose wide rounded arches and simple proportions presage the Renaissance).
- Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Allegory of Good and Bad Government, Siena (1338). The most important secular painting to survive from medieval Europe, a complex Gothic allegory full of details from daily Sienese life. He also left a gorgeous Presentation at the Temple of 1342 in Florence's Uffizi).
- Giotto (1266-1337). The greatest Gothic artist, who lifted painting from its Byzantine funk and set it on the road to the realism and perspective of the Renaissance. His best works are fresco cycles in Assisi’s Basilica di San Francesco, Padua’s Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel, Florence's Sants Croce, and his Maestà in the Uffizi.