painting’s frame or surface. Such ideas eventually led to the development of perspective in the next
century.
PAINTING
AFTER THE
BLACK DEATH
In 1348 an epidemic of the plague swept over most of Europe. In Italy about half the population died from
the disease, including many artists. The art that was made shortly after the Black Death does not continue
Giotto’s innovations, but seems to return to a stiffer, more formal style (an example is Orcagna’s Strozzi
Altarpiece, painted in 1357. There is much debate about what caused this change in style, and it may be
due more to a change of patronage rather than to a widespread sense of despair. Whatever the reason for
this change, it caused a break in the development of illusionistic devices, which would be taken up again
only at the beginning of the fifteenth century when artists would fully develop a system of perspective.
Andrea Orcagna, Strozzi Altarpiece, 1354-57
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