Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

Thursday, October 15

Building and Recycling Altarpieces in Early Renaissance Florence

Illustrated Lecture
Time: 4:30pm
Location: Axinn Center at Starr Library, Room 229

Laurence Kanter, Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art and Chief Curator, Yale University Art Gallery


Patrons in fourteenth and fifteenth century Italy were acutely value conscious, frequently specifying the quality of materials an artist was expected to use or the parts of a painting he must execute by himself without recourse to assistants. Frugality often extended to having old paintings restored or recycled by adding new frames or changing a few figures to suit a new context. These changes are sometimes easily recognized by the modern art historian, but sometimes they can be detected only by near microscopic analysis of a painting’s surface. Identifying two different painters at work on an altarpiece, either contemporaneously or occasionally a hundred years apart or more, can have surprising consequences for conventional notions of the history of art. Sponsored by the Middlebury College Museum of Art and the Friends of the Art Museum.