Gentile da Fabriano

(c. 1385—1427)

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(b Fabriano, ?c.1385; d Rome, 1427).

Italian painter, named after his birthplace in the Marches. His birthdate has been traditionally estimated as c.1370, but expert opinion now inclines to put it about fifteen years later. Gentile carried out important commissions in several major Italian art centres and was recognized as one of the foremost artists of his day, but most of the work on which his great contemporary reputation was based has been destroyed. It included frescos in the Doges' Palace in Venice (1408) and for St John Lateran in Rome (1427). In between he worked in Florence, Siena, and Orvieto. His major surviving work is the celebrated altarpiece of the Adoration of the Magi (1423, Uffizi, Florence), painted for the church of S. Trinità in Florence, which places him alongside Ghiberti as one of the greatest exponents of the International Gothic style in Italy. It is remarkable not only for its exquisite decorative beauty but also for the naturalistic treatment of light in the predella, where there is a night scene with three different light sources. Gentile had widespread influence (much more so initially than his great contemporary Masaccio), notably on Jacopo Bellini, who probably worked with him in Florence, Pisanello, who completed work in Rome he left unfinished at his death, and Fra Angelico, who was his greatest heir.

Subjects: Art — History by Period.

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