1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Spinello Aretino

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4733001911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 25 — Spinello Aretino

SPINELLO ARETINO (c. 1330-c. 1410), Italian painter, the son of a Florentine named Luca, who had taken refuge in Arezzo in 1310 when exiled with the rest of the Ghibelline party, was born at Arezzo about 1330. Spinello was a pupil of Jacopo di Casentino, a follower of Giotto, and his own style was a sort of link between the school of Giotto and that of Siena. In the early part of his life he worked in Florence as an assistant to his master Jacopo while painting frescoes in the church of the Carmine and in Sta Maria Novella. Between 1360 and 1384 he was occupied in painting many frescoes in and near Arezzo, almost all of which have now perished. After the sack of Arezzo in 1384 Spinello returned to Florence, and in 1387-1388 with some assistants covered the walls and vault of the sacristy of S. Miniato near Florence with a series of frescoes, the chief of which represent scenes from the life of St Benedict. These still exist, though in a sadly restored condition; they are very Giotto-like in composition, but have some of the Siena decorative brilliance of colour. In 1391-1392 Spinello was painting six frescoes, which still remain on the south wall of the Pisan Campo Santo, representing miracles of St Potitus and St Ephesus. For these he received 270 gold florins. Among his later works the chief are the very fine series of frescoes painted in 1407-1408 on the walls and vault of a chapel in the municipal buildings of Siena; these also have suffered much from repainting, but still are the finest of Spinello's existing frescoes. Sixteen of these represent the war of Frederick Barbarossa against the republic of Venice. Spinello died at Arezzo about 1410.

Spinello's frescoes are all strong and highly decorative works, drawn with much spirit, and are very superior in style to his panel pictures, many of which appear to be mere bottega productions. The academy of Florence possesses a panel of the “Madonna and Saints,” which is chiefly interesting for its signature — “Hoc opus pinxit Spinellus Luce Aritio D.I.A.(1391).” The easel pictures which are to be found in the various galleries of Europe give little or no notion of Spinello's power as a painter.