Madonna and the Child of Enthroned Saints - an Analysis

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GENERAL BACKGROUND The roots of the Renaissance surfaced in Italy, where urban life, banking, and capitalism had progressed at a rapid pace. By the 14th century, the city–state of Florence was the leading center of international finance. But, even more importantly, there was a growing consciousness of political identity in 14th–century Italy. Many Italians became interested in renewing their rich classical past, and scholars actively studied the Latin classics. Following the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi (c. 1182-1226), who advocated religion as an intense personal experience, religious and secular thinkers of this period emphasized the importance of personal intuition and experience in seeking both divine and natural knowledge. They challenged the existing Christian scholastic philosophy that sought to rationalize religion through argument. This new emphasis on personal experience contributed to a new view of the world called humanism. Thomas H. Greer broadly defines humanism as "any view that puts the human person (humanus) at the center of things and stresses the individual’s creative, reasoning, and aesthetic powers."1Early on, Florence was the major center of humanism. Francesco Petrarch (b. 1304) and Giovanni Boccaccio (b. 1313), two of the most important humanists, were born in Florence and influenced the progressive thinking in that city. BERNARDO DADDI Second only to Giotto, Bernardo Daddi was among the leading painters active in Florence during the first half of the 14th century. Though we do not know when Daddi was born, we presume it was during the late 13th century. He is recorded in a register of the Florentine guild of apothecaries for the years documented 1312 and 1320 and in another for the years between 1320 and 1350. He died during the "black plague" in 1348. Daddi recognized a demand for personal devotional altars and popularized

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