Wherefore there came to arise new architects, who brought from their barbarous races the method of that manner of buildings that are called by us to-day German; and they made some that are rather a source of laughter for us moderns than creditable to them, until better craftsmen afterwards found a better style, in some measure similar to the good style of the ancients, even as that manner may be seen throughout all Italy in the old churches (but not the ancient), which were built by them, such as a palace of Theodoric, King of Italy, in Ravenna, and one in Pavia, and another in Modena; all in a barbarous manner, and rather rich and vast than well-conceived or of good architecture. In this church, as I will not forbear to say, there may be seen a thing most notable and marvellous, namely, the vault, or rather cupola, that covers it, which, although it is ten braccia wide and serves for roof and covering to that building, is nevertheless of one single piece, so great and ponderous that it seems almost impossible that such a stone, weighing more[Pg li] than 200,000 libbre,[4] could have been set into place so high. But I will surely say that of both one and the other of these arts the design, which is their foundation, nay rather, the very soul that conceives and nourishes within itself all the parts of man's intellect, was already most perfect before the creation of all other things, when the Almighty God, having made the great body of the world and having adorned the heavens with their exceeding bright lights, descended lower with His intellect into the clearness of the air and the solidity of the earth, and, shaping man, discovered, together with the lovely creation of all things, the first form of sculpture; from which man afterwards, step by step (and this may not be denied), as from a true pattern, there were taken statues, sculptures, and the science of pose and of outline; and for the first pictures (whatsoever they were), softness, harmony, and the concord in discord that comes from light and shade. After the departure of Constantine, the Cæsars whom he left in Italy, building continually both in Rome and elsewhere, exerted themselves to make their works as fine as they could; but, as may be seen, sculpture, as well as painting and architecture, went ever from bad to worse, and this perchance came to pass because, when human affairs begin to decline, they never cease to go ever lower and lower until such time as they can grow no worse. Is it not known that Nicomedes, King of Lycia, in his eagerness for a Venus that was by the hand of Praxiteles, spent on it almost all the wealth of his people? It is true, indeed, that it cannot be affirmed for certain what was made by the men before the Flood in these arts in imitation of so beautiful a work, although it is reasonable to believe that they too carved and painted in every manner; seeing that Belus, son of the proud Nimrod, about 200 years after the Flood, caused to be made that statue wherefrom there was afterwards born idolatry, and his son's wife, the very famous Semiramis, Queen of Babylon, in the building of that city, placed among its adornments not only diverse varied kinds of animals, portrayed and coloured from nature, but also the image of herself and of Ninus, her husband, and, moreover, statues in bronze of her husband's father, of her husband's mother, and of the mother of the latter, as Diodorus relates, calling them by the Greek names (that did not yet exist), Jove, Juno, and Ops. And besides this there were found in the same place many small figures in bronze after the same manner, which are in the hands of the said Lord Duke. Many years after, when the Christians were persecuted under Julian the Apostate, there was erected on the Cœlian Mount a church to S. John and S. Paul, the martyrs, in a manner so much worse than those named above, that it is seen clearly that the art was at that time little less than wholly lost. For these, having fallen away in very great measure from the ancient Roman valour, for the reason that all the best had gone a long time before to Byzantium with the Emperor Constantine, had no longer any good customs or ways of life. I have no manner of doubt that it is with almost all writers a common and deeply-fixed opinion that sculpture and painting together were first discovered, by the light of nature, by the people of Egypt, and that there are certain others who attribute to the Chaldæans the first rough sketches in marble and the first reliefs in statuary, even as they also give to the … Of sculptures, likewise, they made an infinity, as may still be seen in low-relief over the door of S. Michele in the Piazza Padella of Florence, and in Ognissanti; and tombs and adornments in many places for the doors of churches, wherein they have certain figures for corbels to support the roof, so rude and vile, so misshapen, and of such a grossness of manner, that it appears impossible that worse could be imagined. * Cleophantes of Corinth was the first among the Greeks who used colours, and Apollodorus the first who discovered the brush. Includes bibliographical references (pages [295]-330) and index. Giorgio Vasari's Prefaces: Art and Theory provides students and scholars alike with the opportunity to study and understand the art, theory, and visual culture of Giorgio Vasari and sixteenth century Italy. (And nope, we don't source our examples from our editing service! But it is now time to come to the Life of Giovanni Cimabue, and even as he gave the first beginning to the new method of drawing and painting, so it is just and expedient that he should give it to the Lives, in which I will do my utmost to observe, the most that I can, the order of their manners rather than that of time. Not unlike to these, too, was the church that the King of the Lombards, Luitprand (who lived in the time of King Pepin, father of Charlemagne), built in Pavia, which is called S. Pietro in Cieldauro; nor that one, likewise, that Desiderius built, who reigned after Astolf—namely, S. Pietro Clivate, in the diocese of Milan; nor the Monastery of S. Vincenzo in Milan, nor that of S. Giulia in Brescia, seeing that they were all built at the greatest cost, but in the most ugly and haphazard manner. Please check your internet connection or reload this page. And if anything was wanting to complete this ruin, it was supplied to them amply by the departure of Constantine from Rome, on his going to establish the seat of the Empire at Byzantium; for the reason that he took with him not only all the best sculptors and other craftsmen of that age, whatsoever manner of men they were, but also an infinite number of statues and other works of sculpture, all most beautiful. Attached to the façade of this church there may be seen a marble portico with many ornaments and carvings made in memory of Pope Alexander II, who had been, a short time before he was elected to the Pontificate, Bishop of that city. For more information on choosing credible sources for your paper, check out this blog post. 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