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Thank heavens I found an early Renaissance artist with a name beginning with O!
Andrea di Cione di Arcangelo (c. 1308 – August 25, 1368) was known as Orcagna, his nickname apparently local slang for ‘Arcangel’ ( Arcangelo). A painter, sculptor, and architect, he was the leading Florentine artist of the third quarter of the 14th century.
Orcagna was the son of a goldsmith and the most recognized of a family of painters, which included three younger brothers: Nardo, Matteo, and Jacopo. He studied at the Arte dei Medici e degli Speziali (1343–44) and is thought to have worked in the studio of the proto-Renaissance sculptor Andrea Pisano, who carved reliefs for one of the bronze doors of the Baptistery in Florence. Orcagna was admitted to the guild of painters in 1344 and to the guild of stonemasons in 1352.
One of the few paintings attributable to Orcagna is the altarpiece of The Redeemer with the Madonna and Saints (1354-57) in the beautiful church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. This is the most powerful Florentine painting of its period, with dazzling colors and the lavish use of gold. Despite the fact that the naturalism of Giotti was having a major impact at the time, the altarpiece, with massive remote and immobile figures, shows a strong Byzantine influence. Nevertheless, the figures are painted with a forcefulness and individuality.
Orcagna also painted a fresco trilogy (Triumph of Death, Last Judgment, and Hell) in Santa Croce in Florence, only fragments of which remain. This fresco inspired Franz Liszt’s masterwork Totentanz.
His work as a sculptor and architect is known only through one work, the tabernacle in Or San Michele, where he was the supervising architect. This is a highly elaborate ornamental structure housing a painting of the Virgin; it is supported by four octagonal piers and heavily encrusted with colored inlay.
On the front and side are a number of hexagonal reliefs from the life of the Virgin, some of which are signed and dated 1359. A relief, in sculpture, is any work in which the figures project from a supporting background and is a form of art that sprang up in Tuscany after the Black Plague. There are marked differences in the figures of the tabernacle, believed due to work by Orcagna’s brother Matteo.
Orcagna was employed as architect of the cathedral in Florence twice (1357 and 1364–67), and of the cathedral at Orvieto (1359–60), where he supervised the mosaic decoration of the façade with his brother Matteo .
In September 1367 he received the commission for an altarpiece of St. Matthew, with four scenes from the Saint’s life.
While working on this commission, Orcagna fell mortally ill, and this work was finished by his brother Jacopo, who worked in his style and continued it until his death circa 1395.